Trademark Surveys: Combining Research and Law

trademark-infringementTrademark confusion surveys bring together both of my passions – research & law. In the world of Intellectual Property, many companies are now ensuring that their trademarks are not confused with competitors.

In recent years, the courts in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have seen a drastic increase in the number of cases where surveys have been accepted in trademark infringement and passing off cases. The use of research in trademark litigation has become prevalent even in the Caribbean. Two years ago, Balcostics Limited concluded a confusion survey where respondents provided answers to different questions relating to their perception as to whether they believed two marks (shown on the questionnaire) were owned by the same or different companies. Respondents were then asked to explain why they made a particular selection and to state the name of the company (ies) they thought owned both marks and or each mark.

Ensuring that the survey is conducted in the perfect environment is key when conducting a survey for use in litigation proceedings because trademark surveys often determine the outcome of trademark litigation. Courts look to specific indicia of reliability regarding how a trademark survey was conducted and performed. These indicia include:

  • Whether a sufficient number of individuals were surveyed,
  • Whether specific controls were created to measure if any portion of the survey was confusing in itself,
  • Whether the questions were leading or followed a proper format, and
  • If a specific percentage of survey respondents were called to verify the accuracy of their answers. A substantial amount of case law exists which provides insight into how to conduct and prepare a trademark survey that will be admissible in court.

5 Key Points in Conducting a Confusion Survey:

1.Ensure that the proper universe is selected. You have to ensure that the types of consumers questioned in the survey are from the proper universe. Identification and selection of a proper universe are recognized as critical elements in a survey. It makes no sense to interview the wrong persons as your results will be irrelevant.

2. Persons conducting the survey are recognized experts. The careful hiring of a trademark expert is one of the most important decisions made during a trademark dispute. Well… *cough* that is where Balcostics Research comes in.

3. The sample design, questionnaire and interviewing should be in accordance with generally accepted standards of research procedure and statistics.

4. Sample design and interviews are conducted independently of the Attorneys in the matter.

5. Interviewers trained in the field have no knowledge of the litigation or purposes for which survey is being used. This point was discussed in the case of TOYS “R” US, INC., Plaintiff,v.CANARSIE KIDDIE SHOP, INC.,[1983]

 

Written by: Abi-Gaye White-Thomas (Mrs.)
Attorney-at-Law and Researcher
law@balcostics.com

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Conducting Qualitative Research across Jamaica: Highlights

Team Balcostics recently concluded a qualitative research (Focus Groups & Qualitative Surveys) project involving youths, small and large scale farmers across 9 parishes in Jamaica. The following are some lessons  learnt:

  • Scheduling & organizing participants – give participants at least one week notice to prepare and adjust their schedule.
  • Logistics – Some of the target groups were located in deep rural communities and finding the specific Focus Group venue proved challenging. Be cognizant of additional time for wrong turns (transportation) 🙂
  • Provide Refreshments – It’s a great way to make participants comfortable and they will likely share more information with you.

Here are some highlights from our numerous trips:

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Sunlight’s impact on lowering blood pressure

It’s common knowledge that humans get Vitamin D from the sun, but as dermatologist Richard Weller suggests, sunlight may also have another surprising benefit.

Sun light JA

New research by his team shows that nitric oxide, a chemical transmitter stored in huge reserves in the skin, can be released by UV light, to great benefit for blood pressure and the cardiovascular system. So could sunlight be good for your heart?

 

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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If you think money can’t buy happiness, you’re not spending it right!

Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can, indeed buy happiness — when you don’t spend it on yourself. happiness JAListen for surprising data on the many ways pro-social spending can benefit you, your work, and (of course) other people.

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Why we make bad decisions [Video]

decision wrongDan Gilbert presents research and data from his exploration of happiness — sharing some surprising tests and experiments that you can also try on yourself. Watch through to the end for a sparkling Q&A with some familiar TED faces.

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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More women now die of heart disease than men [Research]

There are approximately 800,000 Jamaican women (20 – 64 years old) currently at risk of heart disease. Women under the age of 65, especially those with a family history of heart disease, should pay close attention to heart disease risk factors.

Heart disease in woman

Surprising, but true: More women now die of heart disease than men, yet cardiovascular research has long focused on men. Pioneering doctor C. Noel Bairey Merz shares what we know and don’t know about women’s heart health — including the remarkably different symptoms women present during a heart attack (and why they’re often missed).

 

Some Risk Factors for heart disease in women:

  1. Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease significantly more in women than in men.
  2. Metabolic syndrome — a combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides — has a greater impact on women than on men.
  3. Mental stress and depression affect women’s hearts more than men’s. Depression makes it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow recommended treatment, so talk to your doctor if you’re having symptoms of depression.
  4. Smoking is a greater risk factor for heart disease in women than in men.
  5. A lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for heart disease, and as a group, women tend to be less active than men.
  6. Low levels of estrogen after menopause pose a significant risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease in the smaller blood vessels (microvascular disease).
  7. Pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy can increase a woman’s long-term risk of high blood pressure and diabetes and increase the risk of development of heart disease in both the mother and in her children.

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Teach statistics before calculus! Who agree?

Someone always asks the math teacher, “Am I going to use calculus in real life?” And for most of us, says Arthur Benjamin, the answer is no. He offers a bold proposal on how to make math education relevant in the digital age.

At Balcostics we specialize in using infographics, animations and other data visualization methods to present data in an engaging, easy to understand format. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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What’s your views on a Happy Planet Index?

Statistician Nic Marks asks why we measure a nation’s success by its productivity — instead of by the happiness and well-being of its people. He introduces the Happy Planet Index, which tracks national well-being against resource use (because a happy life doesn’t have to cost the earth). Which countries rank highest in the HPI? You might be surprised.

 

At Balcostics we specialize in using infographics, animations and other data visualization methods to present data in an engaging, easy to understand format. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

Plus, get our daily JSE Reviews & other Caribbean related research articles & data visualization via our Blackberry App (all models). Click here to download or scan QR code

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Your phone company is watching

With the recent trial and conviction of popular dancehall entertainer Vybz Kartel, most Jamaicans were surprised to learn that both network providers (Digicel Jamaica & Lime Jamaica) store records of phone-calls, text messages among other personal information for several years.

According to the Interception of Communication Act, if the police has reasonable grounds that your device has information that can assist them in a criminal investigation, prevent a crime from taking place, or is in the public interest, then a judge can issue a warrant for your phone to be searched and certain information retrieved.

So the question is:

Phone companies across the world

What kind of data is your cell phone company collecting? Malte Spitz wasn’t too worried when he asked his operator in Germany to share information stored about him. Multiple unanswered requests and a lawsuit later, Spitz received 35,830 lines of code — a detailed, nearly minute-by-minute account of half a year of his life.

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At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Why smart statistics are the key to fighting crime

When she became the attorney general of New Jersey in 2007, Anne Milgram quickly discovered a few startling facts: not only did her team not really know who they were putting in jail, but they had no way of understanding if their decisions were actually making the public safer. And so began her ongoing, inspirational quest to bring data analytics and statistical analysis to the US criminal justice system.

At Balcostics we specialize in using infographics, animations and other data visualization methods to present data in an engaging, easy to understand format. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

Plus, get our daily JSE Reviews & other Caribbean related research articles & data visualization via our Blackberry App (all models). Click here to download or scan QR code

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How juries are fooled by statistics

Oxford mathematician Peter Donnelly reveals the common mistakes humans make in interpreting statistics — and the devastating impact these errors can have on the outcome of criminal trials.

Understanding basic terms & concepts used in research [Video]

understand research

This video will help you better understand the following terms & concepts:

  1. Population or target group
  2. Samples & sample statistics
  3. Descriptive & Inferential statistics
  4. Strengths & weaknesses of certain statistics
  5. Representative samples

Using research to better understand customers [Video]

How is it possible to effectively understand your target customers? One thing we know for sure, it’s not magic!

Market research

Answer: Market Research

Learn more about our research services for individual and companies: Click here

Get our daily JSE Reviews & other Caribbean related research articles via our Blackberry App (all models). Click here to download or scan QR code

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Understanding sampling methods [Animation]

Random sampling is a myth. Practical researchers know this and deal with it. Theoretical statisticians live in a theoretical world where random sampling is possible and ubiquitous – which is just as well really.

Dr Nic

Sampling methods

This engaging and simple video covers five sampling methods that you need to know, they are as follows:

  1. Simple Random
  2. Convenience
  3. Systematic
  4. Cluster
  5. Stratified

6 steps to executing a successful Focus Group

During my final year at university, I conducted my first focus group. What seemed like a daunting task, was a success due to adequate preparation. Today, I would like to share some best practices on how to effectively execute your first focus group.

Focus groups are a form of qualitative research that basically explores different subjects, perceptions, opinions, beliefs, attitudes, etc. through a guided conversation in an interactive group setting. The following highlights six steps on how to effectively execute a focus group:

1. Organize,and plan. Don’t do things at the last minute.

2. Recruit and screen the right people, with the right characteristics, and the right knowledge. Ensure that you contact your participants to ensure that the time and place for the focus group is confirmed.

3. Know your subject but be neutral and unbiased in your conversation. Don’t assume you understand what someone means; if it’s unclear at all, ask for clarification. EVERY STATEMENT IS IMPORTANT!

4. Encourage participation by all the attendees, don’t let one person dominate the conversation or someone sit in the background without a comment. Some people are more comfortable in settings like this than others; don’t let that one person run over everyone else in the conversation.

5. Keep things moving. Focus groups encourage a natural flow of topics; don’t move through the focus group topics abruptly, too slowly or quickly.

6. Check all equipment prior! Ensure that your recording devise is functional. It is impossible to write all the comments from the session verbatim without a recorder.

Contributor: Abi-Gaye White,

Legal and Corporate Communications Manager, Balcostics Ltd. 

Understanding hypothesis testing [Animation]

hypothesis testing

Using practical business examples and animation, this entertaining video shows step-by-step procedure on how to execute a hypothesis test.

You can also get access to an on-line course which contains little quizzes to help you understand the videos. This is on http://www.statslc.com/

 

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Market research for small businesses: Tips [Video]

This short video presents four quick tips on using market research in your small business. The following were highlighted:

  1. Researching your competitors
  2. Looking outside your industry for inspiration and new innovations
  3. Researching what big companies are doing
  4. Identifying new trends and business opportunities using social media & other media research

Debunked: The myth that Apple doesn’t conduct market research

I have often heard it said that Apple is a visionary company and they “don’t do market research”. I think it is true they don’t defer to consumers on big product decisions. No one should! I know for a fact that they do customer satisfaction surveys and I would be very surprised if they don’t do brand tracking and media effectiveness research. The Apple vs. Samsung trial confirms that Apple does more market research than previously thought. Not specifically for product development but for understanding customer perception of their and competitors products – as stated by Fredrik Samanta on Quora

Apple do researchThe type of Market Research Apple engages in

As part of the ongoing Apple-Samsung trial, there has been numerous court filings wherein both Apple and Samsung are looking to have all sorts of confidential data and trial exhibits sealed. Apple’s Greg Joswiak – the company’s VP of Product Marketing – submitted a declaration to the Court explaining why documents relating to Apple’s market research and strategy should be sealed.

Yes, Apple does market research!

Every month, Apple surveys iPhone buyers and Joswiak explains what Apple is able to glean from these surveys.

The surveys reveal, country-by-country, what is driving our customers to buy Apple’s iPhone products versus other products such as the Android products that Samsung sells, what features they most use, our customers’ demographics and their level of satisfaction with different aspects of iPhone.

And as you might expect, Apple conducts similar surveys with iPad buyers.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal highlighted some of the questions and answers that appear in these research reports:

One chart lists responses from customers in seven different countries, asking them why they bought an iPhone after considering an Android device. “Trust Apple Brand” emerged as the first or second most popular reason in most regions, including in the U.S and China where 54% of respondents cited it as a factor.

Some 67% of Chinese respondents said they bought the iPhone because they liked the physical appearance and design, the highest percentage across the group, which also included Japan, the U.K., France, Germany and South Korea.

Least important, almost universally, was the ability to easily transfer music and other media across multiple devices. “Greater availability of apps I am interested in” was a significant factor in South Korea, where 47% cited it as a reason.

Interestingly, Joswiak notes that Apple’s iPhone and iPad research data is only circulated to a small select group of Apple executives.

Are you surprise that Apple conducts regular monthly market research? Were you one of those persons who quickly referenced Steve Jobs “no market research quote” as justification for not collecting and analyzing customer feedback? Do share your views with us.

Business insights & decision making: Research Tips

There are several ways businesses benefit from talking with customers & potential customers, among them are the following:

  1. Getting a better understanding of market opportunities – what would these customers want from you?
  2. What do they think you can improve on?
  3. What are their pricing tolerance?
  4. What feature needs do these customers want?

business decisionsMost start-ups are focused on finding ways to gain new customers and testing different pricing, advertising and business model concepts. Thus talking to a representative sample of their target market (potential clients) can go a far way in their decision making process – deciding where best to allocate limited resources.

There several ways to find data and insights around key business questions, in order to gain the information required to push forward with growth and business development efforts.

Three Simple steps:

  1. Talk to customers & potential customers
  2. Determine the key business questions where feedback from a large audience would help you make better decisions
  3. Using a survey or even several recurring surveys to monitor trends that can help identify answers quickly

The Future: Why Big Data Matters

This video examines why big data matters, looking specifically at the following:

  1. What is Big Data?
  2. Companies currently using big data
  3. Predictive analytics using big data
  4. How companies are using big data?

Validate your business ideas with customer research: Tips

Most entrepreneurs should be familiar with the basics of Lean Start-up methodology:

  1. Start by searching for product/market fit.
  2. Get out of the building and talk to customers.
  3. Run a series of experiments to validate your ideas.
  4. Above all else, validate your thinking as early as possible: don’t spend millions of dollars building something before you have tested the ideas and concepts with customers.

Business-Idea

Many entrepreneurs find it hard to reach real customers. Getting feedback from co-founders, friends, small focus groups, user testing sessions and even existing customers can be very helpful to qualitatively understand how others view your offering. But many times the sample group that you can reach is too small and biased towards people that will be polite to you, or who have self-identified as liking your product.

Validate your business ideas using feedback from a representative sample of your target group – your potential customers. For even greater objectivity, start-ups can consider outsourcing their data gathering, collection and analysis.

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Understanding current customers: Research Tips

If you want to profile customers, and better understand product satisfaction, feature requests or anything else, a survey can be a great tool. You most likely have email addresses for your customers, or can provide a feedback link on your site, or face-to-face contact.

Love customers

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Yes you can conduct your own survey! Research Tips

Conducting your own survey is always possible once you have the time and patience to cover the best practices. It’s fairly easy and yes you can do it!

potential customers

Prior to starting a survey, one should…

  • Define a clear purpose for the survey
  • Create research objectives/research questions you intend to answer
  • Decide on a methodology to collect the data required

Some popular ways of administering a survey:

  1. online websites
  2. emails
  3. face to face
  4. mail post
  5. telephone

In general, the method used to administer a survey questionnaire is dependent on….

  • The budget – estimated costs of completing the project
  • The target population – population size will influence the sample selection
  • The sample size – administering approaches vary base on the sample size
  • The timeline – how quickly the data is required does affect the method selected

Once you have completed administering and collecting your data, remember to contact balcostics if you require assistance with the analysis and presentation of your findings.

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Are you solving the right problems? Research Tips

Dwayne Spradlin highlighted in his Havard business review article “Are you solving the right problems?”, the importance of asking the right questions and thoroughly defining the problem.

Solving the right problems

Be extremely careful in the initial stages of a research, when you are preparing your proposal and outlining your purpose. Seek assistance to clearly outline your research question and objectives, especially if you’re uncertain about there effectiveness in providing the required information needed to make decisions.

At Balcostics our mission is to empower decision makers with the required data and information to make better decisions. Learn more about our full list of research outsourcing services for individuals and companies: Click here

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Use Research Questions to focus: Research Tips

A research question is a clear, focused, concise and arguable question around which you center your research project. You should ask a question about an issue that you are genuinely curious about. For example, What impact (if any) will a $100 increase have on customers willingness to purchase my product?

stece-jobs-focus

Good Research Questions bring focus
Research questions help decision makers focus their inquiry by providing a clear framework within which the research project will be executed. The specificity of a well-developed research question will go a far way in clarifying the scope of the research project to all stakeholders.

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