Trademark Survey: Asking the Right Questions

In the October 2012 issue of Intellectual Property Magazine, MMR Strategy’s President, Dr. Bruce Isaacson, discusses the importance of question phrasing in trademark litigation surveys.

Relatively little has been written about how to phrase survey questions, a critical component of a litigation survey. A survey expert designing a litigation survey will likely spend many hours and much deep thought on this topic, and courts often look at question phrasing to see whether a survey is reliable and non-biased.

This article provides three practical guidelines and offers how-to advice for aiding experts in the proper design of survey questions, and can aid those who evaluate such surveys in determining whether the survey questions are likely to produce reliable data:

  • Survey questions must be written so they can be clearly understood by survey respondents.
  • Survey questions must be phrased to address the issues in dispute.
  • Survey questions must be phrased in a non-biased and non-leading manner.