How Customer Surveys Impact Trademark Infringement Cases

Building a solid trademark infringement case relies heavily on demonstrating that the infringing party has created consumer confusion. One way to show consumer confusion is to use consumer surveys. Several recent court rulings have shown that the absence of consumer surveys may hinder you in court. Let’s take a look at the role that customer surveys play in shaping trademark infringement cases.

Demonstrating That Infringement Has Occurred

When you suspect that another party is using your trademark to market their goods or has impeded your trademark rights in some way, you can take legal action against them to protect your intellectual property. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), “a plaintiff must prove that it owns a valid mark, that it has priority (its rights in the mark(s) are ‘senior’ to the defendant’s), and that the defendant’s mark is likely to cause confusion in the minds of consumers about the source or sponsorship of goods or services offered under the parties’ marks.” To build a successful case, you’ll need to produce evidence of a likelihood of consumer confusion.

The Role of Consumer Surveys

Although courts have maintained that survey evidence is not a requirement of trademark infringement cases, one judge recently observed that surveys are “consistently cited as the most persuasive evidence” of confusion, and “the absence of surveys is evidence that actual confusion cannot be shown.” In that case, the judge ruled that even though the plaintiff did not have survey evidence to support its infringement claim, it had enough other evidence of confusion to allow it to take the case to trial before a jury. But, the judge pointed out that the lack of survey evidence could weaken the plaintiff’s case.

Discuss Your Goals With a Minneapolis IP Law Attorney Today

If you suspect that someone is infringing on your IP rights, contact an experienced trademark attorney to discuss your situation. Together, you can determine the best strategy for protecting your mark. If that strategy includes a consumer survey, your attorney will help you locate the resources you need to build a strong survey tool. The sooner you contact an attorney, the more time you’ll have to build a successful case.


Learn more about building a compelling trademark infringement case by contacting the knowledgeable and friendly IP attorneys at Rubric Legal LLC. Call our Minneapolis office today at (612) 465-0074 to get started.

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