MMR Client Objectives and Case Facts
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association alleged that the Sisters of Charity Leavenworth, a not-for-profit faith-based medical provider in Colorado, infringed on its trademark and diluted its brand. Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth countersued Blue Cross Blue Shieldin the US District Court for the District of Colorado. Attorneys representing Blue Cross Blue ShieldAssociation retained MMR Strategy Group to conduct research measuring the recognition and recall of certain Blue Cross word and design marks.
MMR Research Objectives and Methodology
In order to measure the fame and awareness of the Blue Cross Blue ShieldAssociation trademark and design marks, MMR designed a fame and awareness survey according to widely accepted survey methods. Three marks in particular were at issue in this matter: the Blue Cross Word Mark, the Solid Blue Cross Design Mark, and the Blue Cross with Vitruvian Man Design Mark. In order to accurately measure the fame and awareness of the three marks, MMR designed a survey that tested these Blue Cross marks and other names and designs, including marks used by larger national organizations and smaller organizations operating in certain regions, in addition to fictitious names and designs serving as controls.
MMR Strategy Group Survey Design
MMR Strategy Group designed a survey that tested the logos in two formats, a larger logo that might appear on a building or a billboard, and smaller logos that might appear on an insurance card, an invoice, or other common documents. The more common form of the mark, according to information provided by the Defendant, is the smaller size.
Respondents were qualified by age, geography, and gender. They were randomly assigned to evaluate either the Solid Blue Cross or the Blue Cross with Vitruvian Man logos, in either the standard or the large format.
Survey instructions included questions that provided respondents with a context that matched the marketplace. Respondents were asked, for each name, whether they had heard of the company before or not, and what company they associated the mark with. Each mark was tested in three different geographies, including nationwide. The survey database included a total of 3,118 online interviews
MMR Survey Findings and Court Reports
Our survey found that for the Blue Cross word mark, 92.8% of national respondents indicated they had heard of “Blue Cross” before. After accounting for the control, the net measure for “Blue Cross” was 86.1%. For the standard size Solid Blue Cross design mark, 70.1% of national respondents indicated that they had seen that design before. After accounting for the control, the net measure for the Solid Blue Cross design mark in this size was 64.6%. Among national respondents, 83.1% indicated that they associated the design with Blue Cross. The standard size Blue Cross with Vitruvian Man logo yielded 67.4% recognition; the net measure for the design was 60.7%. Of national respondents, 83.1% indicated that they associated the design with Blue Cross. Across each geographic area, over 56% of respondents recognized the marks, and over 76% associated the marks with Blue Cross Blue Shield.
The district court accepted MMR’s fame and awareness survey as evidence of national and regional consumer recognition of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association marks. If you are in involved in a trademark infringement matter, contact MMR Strategy Group to discuss how our surveys may be used as evidence in your claim.