Book Recommendation: “Trademark and Deceptive Advertising Surveys”

By Eric Goldman

I read only a couple of books per year. As very long-form scholarship, books usually require big blocks of time to read (and I rarely have such blocks), and I typically find the payoff isn’t worth the time investment. As a result, it’s rare that I read a book, rarer when I like a book, and exceptionally rare when I think a book is worth recommending to you.

Yet, I can hardly contain my enthusiasm for the 2012 book, “Trademark and Deceptive Advertising Surveys: Law, Science and Design,” edited by Shari Seidman Diamond and Jerre B. Swann and published by the ABA’s IP Section. It may be the best book I’ve read in years.

Why do I like this book so much? It’s the *perfect* legal resource guide. The chapters are written by the leading experts in the field–names you most likely recognize, including William Barber, Jerre Swann, Bruce Keller, Shari Seidman Diamond, Itamar Simonson, Jacob Jacoby and many more. In each chapter, an expert explains how he/she handles an aspect of the consumer survey process and why he/she makes certain professional judgments. It’s like having am initial consultation with, or some private coaching from, the leaders in the consumer survey field, except that they aren’t billing you by the hour and they give you citations for your deeper investigation if you want. I know I’m a hardcore geek, so my experience may not be representative, but I found this book a page-turner that I couldn’t put down. Every page was packed with a golden nugget or two of insight, page after page, chapter after chapter. I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that I found the book gripping.

Of course, you won’t be able to do consumers surveys on your own just by reading the book (you’ll still need to hire an expert), but you’ll be able to have a more intelligent discussion with your expert and evaluate and supervise their professional choices better. After reading the book, you should be able to save thousands of dollars in the costs of a consumer survey and increase the likelihood that the $100k+ you invest in a consumer survey will yield useful results.

If you deal with consumer surveys in the trademark or advertising context–which means pretty much every trademark and advertising law professional–this book is a must-have. Unfortunately, the book is priced for professional purchases, not the consumer market. Right now Amazon [affiliate link] lists it for $280 (though that price fluctuates), but it’s “only” $180 at the ABA website and even cheaper if you’re an ABA IP Section member. The book will more than pay for itself after your first consumer survey using it.

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