Making use of the internet for conducting trademark surveys has become the smart choice for survey experts. A few years ago, internet surveys in intellectual property (IP) litigation were novelties—but not anymore. In fact, now it has become the preferred choice for many types of IP litigation-related surveys—especially trademark-related matters.
The biggest reason for the rise of the internet survey could be the demise of the other more conventional methodologies. At the same time, the internet continues to add new technological features that enhance its ability to reach populations and probe relevant target markets.
How Older Methodologies got Obsolete
While technology has made the internet survey what it is, technology has also contributed to the decline of older methods, such as telephone surveys and mall intercept surveys.
A very popular survey methodology, the mall intercept survey, has declined as shoppers increasingly avoid malls in lieu of shopping online. Also, people who frequently visits the malls are not necessarily a cross-section of the population. Elderly people routinely visit malls early in the day, before stores open. Shoppers at malls tend to be youthful, and many mall visitors are parents of small children or babysitters. In short, you are not getting the population cross-sections that most consumer surveys require.
Role of Internet
While technology has crippled the older methodologies, it has strengthened the use of the internet in survey research. Virtually everyone uses a computer and accesses the internet online. Most people go online every day some people are on the internet all the time. People are more comfortable with the point-and-click methods of screening and inputting data.
There is a myriad of ways surveys can be presented on the internet. The Templates are abound. Questionnaires can easily be plugged into different templates. These templates continue to improve and are extremely user-friendly.
Moreover, the rise of the internet panels has made survey research on the internet even easier. Some of the survey panels have hundreds of thousands of constituents — people who volunteered to take surveys for the relatively modest rewards panel companies offer. Incentives provided by the internet panel companies are most affordable. The research technique used most often in trademark-related survey is the “judgment survey.” This is a non-probability sample where the survey expert creates the respondent profile and then seeks to find some way of reaching this profile and obtaining a certain number of respondents (such as 200, 250 500, etc.).
Quantitatively, the internet surveys allows both closed-end and open-end answers. Qualitatively, the internet allows you to produce sounds as well as sights. The internet can deliver the most challenging of surveys—pre-recruit. Here you are looking for people with highly specific backgrounds, needs and buyer behavior characteristics. You can design the internet survey for these hard-to-reach people and initially contact them by email or telephone and steer them to the survey by providing a Web link to the online questionnaire. Another variation is to combine a telephone methodology with an internet survey. Here you have the respondent accessing the stimulus online and then have a telephone researcher asking specific questions and record results.
Internet Helps in Validation Process
In internet surveys, it is not necessary for the survey expert to spend time and the client’s money required by the old-fashioned validation method. In most cases where telephone or mall-intercept methodologies were used, it was desirable to “validate” a survey. This was usually accomplished by hiring an independent research company, As some research facilities in shopping malls were compensated based on completed surveys. Some of these facilities had been unscrupulous about reporting the number of “completes.” The task was to telephone a percentage of people who said they participated in the survey. The research company therefore called a percentage of the “completes” and asked: (1) if they were, indeed, qualified to take the survey and (2) if they recalled taking the survey
Courts in favour of Internet Surveys
Even the judges and juries view internet surveys most positively. Moreover, they confirm the internet has become the methodology of choice in the market research industry as a whole. According to them, the use of Web-based surveys is zoomed upward as Internet usage has expanded. The growth has occurred because online research is often the fastest and least expensive way of gathering reliable data.
So widespread have internet IP surveys become in fact that you hardly ever see any other kind of survey in a trademark infringement case today. Moreover, the internet has increased versatility. Surveys are designed especially for cell phones and major advances have been made in image, graphics and sound reproduction. And the best news is that clients have come to appreciate online surveys because the costs keep coming down.