Consumer confusion

Consumer confusion is a state of mind that leads to consumers making imperfect purchasing decisions or lacking confidence in the correctness of their purchasing decisions.[1]


Confusion occurs when a consumer fails to correctly understand or interpret products and services.[2] This, in turn, leads to them making imperfect purchasing decisions. This concept is important to marketeers because consumer confusion may result in reduced sales, reduced satisfaction with products and difficulty communicating effectively with the consumer. It is a widely studied and broad subject which is a part of consumer behaviour and decision making.[3]


Choice overload

Choice overload (sometimes called overchoice in the context of confusion) occurs when the set of purchasing options becomes overwhelmingly large for a consumer. A good example is wine in the UK where supermarkets may present over 1000 different products leaving the consumer with a difficult choice process. Whilst large assortments do have some positive aspects (principally novelty and stimulation[4] and optimal solutions[5]) any assortment greater than around 12-14 products leads to confusion and specifically transferring the ownership of quality assurance to the consumer.[6] What this means in practice is reduced levels of satisfaction with purchases from large assortments as a consumer may be left with doubt that they have succeeded in finding the "best" product. Choice overload is growing with ever larger supermarkets and the internet being two of the main causes.[6]


Similarity is where two or more products lack differentiating features which prevents the consumer easily distinguishing between them. Differentiating features could be any from the marketing mix or anything else associated with the product such as brand. Similarity of products has the negative effect on the consumer of increasing the cognitive effort required to make a decision.[7] and reducing the perception of accuracy of decision. Both of these reduce the satisfaction with a decision and thereby satisfaction with the purchase.

Lack of information

A consumer may suffer from lack of information if the information doesn't exist, is unavailable to them at the required moment or is too complex for them to use in their decision making process.

Information overload

Too much information surrounding a product or service disturbs the consumer by forcing them to engage in a more complex and time-consuming purchasing process. This, and the fact that it is difficult to compare and value the information when it is superfluous, leaves the consumer unsatisfied, insecure regarding what choice to make, and more prone to delay the decision-making, and thereby the actual purchase.[8]

Lack of consistency

When information provided on a product and/or service is not consistent with the consumer's previously held beliefs and convictions, ambiguity occurs in the understanding of the product.[8]


Trademark infringement is measured by the multi-factor "likelihood of confusion" test. That is, a new mark will infringe on an existing trademark if the new mark is so similar to the original that consumers are likely to confuse the two marks, and mistakenly purchase from the wrong company.[9]

The likelihood of confusion test turns on several factors,[9] including:

  • Strength of the plaintiff's trademark;
  • Degree of similarity between the two marks at issue;
  • Similarity of the goods and services at issue;
  • Evidence of actual confusion;
  • Purchaser sophistication;
  • Quality of the defendant's goods or services;
  • Defendant's intent in adopting the mark.

Initial interest confusion occurs when a mark is used to attract a consumer, but upon inspection there is no confusion. This type of confusion is well-recognized for Internet searches, where a consumer may be looking for the site of one company, and a second site mimics keywords and metadata to draw hits from the "real" site.

Point of sale confusion occurs when a consumer believes their product to be from a company which it is not.

Post sale confusion occurs after a product is purchased, and third parties mistakenly think that the product is produced by a different, generally more prestigious, brand.


  1. ^ Walsh, K (1999). "Marketing and Public Sector Management". European Journal of Marketing. 28 (3): 63. doi:10.1108/03090569410057308.
  2. ^ Turnbull, P W (2000). "Customer Confusion: The Mobile Phone Market". Journal of Marketing Management. 16 (1–3): 143–163. doi:10.1362/026725700785100523.
  3. ^ Soloman, M R Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having and Being. Prentice Hall p.7
  4. ^ Darden; Griffin (1994). Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Baumol; Ide (1956). Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ a b Broniarczyk, S M (2008). "Product Assortment and Consumer Psychology".
  7. ^ Loken, M (1986). Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ a b Walsh; et al. (2007). "Consumer confusion proneness:Scale development, validation, and application". Journal of Marketing Management2. 23.
  9. ^ a b Polaroid v. Polarad, 287 F.2d 492 (2nd Cir. 1961).
'Tage Mahal

'Tage Mahal is a 2004 release by Jon Oliva's Pain. This was the first non-Savatage related release by Jon Oliva since 1994's Doctor Butcher.

Ironically, just like Savatage, the band faced a problem with its name. Oliva originally wanted to call the band 'Tage Mahal, as a homage to Savatage, although Oliva admits he could have called the band "Savatage, or Jon Oliva's Savatage, or Savatage Lite, but I didn't do that out of respect for the guys that were in Savatage."Prior to the album's release, Oliva discovered a blues musician Taj Mahal. Under the Consumer Confusion law, the album would have been pulled off the shelves, despite the 'Tage spelling. Instead of holding the record up thinking of a new title, Oliva instructed SPV to simply swap the titles around.

Oliva noted the album was "received great, but it sold shit because the record company didn't do anything with it" because Oliva believes the label wanted a new Savatage record, but both Oliva and long-time producer, Paul O'Neill said no. As a result, on the band's 2006 and 2007 tours, the band has not performed songs from the album as part of their set.

The only song on the album not credited solely to Oliva, "The Nonsensible Ravings of the Lunatic Mind", which was co-written by Savatage guitarist Chris Caffery, is an outtake from Savatage's most recent release, 2001's Poets and Madmen.

1792 Bourbon

1792 Bourbon, formerly known as Ridgewood Reserve 1792 and 1792 Ridgemont Reserve, is a Kentucky straight Bourbon whiskey produced by the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. The brand and distillery have been owned by the Sazerac Company since 2009. It is part of a line of small-batch bourbons aimed at the high-end liquor market. It is sold at 93.7 U.S. proof (46.85% alcohol by volume).

The name of the bourbon is a reference to the year Kentucky became a state. The bourbon is positioned as a premium brand, and the pricing policy makes it a competitor to Knob Creek or Woodford Reserve. This reflects a trend in bourbon production, resulting from competition with single malt whisky, which makes small batch bourbons a big business.When originally introduced, the bourbon carried a "Small Batch Aged 8 years" statement on the back label and "8-year-old" in the text printed on the back of the bottle. In December 2013, the age statement was dropped from the label and replaced with the wording "small batch bourbon whiskey" and the term "8-year-old" was removed from the text.

1792 Bourbon was originally introduced into the market by Barton as "Ridgewood Reserve 1792". The Brown-Forman Corporation sued Barton for trademark infringement, arguing that the similar name and bottle design of Ridgewood Reserve could potentially create consumer confusion with Brown-Foreman's older Woodford Reserve brand. A federal judge ruled in favor of Brown-Forman in 2004, and Barton changed the name of the product to "1792 Ridgemont Reserve" to comply with the ruling. The company later dropped the "Ridgemont Reserve" from the name, making it just "1792 Bourbon".

Binary prefix

A binary prefix is a unit prefix for multiples of units in data processing, data transmission, and digital information, notably the bit and the byte, to indicate multiplication by a power of 2.

The computer industry has historically used the units kilobyte, megabyte, and gigabyte, and the corresponding symbols KB, MB, and GB, in at least two slightly different measurement systems. In citations of main memory (RAM) capacity, gigabyte customarily means 1073741824 bytes. As this is a power of 1024, and 1024 is a power of two (210), this usage is referred to as a binary measurement.

In most other contexts, the industry uses the multipliers kilo, mega, giga, etc., in a manner consistent with their meaning in the International System of Units (SI), namely as powers of 1000. For example, a 500 gigabyte hard disk holds 500000000000 bytes, and a 1 Gbit/s (gigabit per second) Ethernet connection transfers data at 1000000000 bit/s. In contrast with the binary prefix usage, this use is described as a decimal prefix, as 1000 is a power of 10 (103).

The use of the same unit prefixes with two different meanings has caused confusion. Starting around 1998, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and several other standards and trade organizations addressed the ambiguity by publishing standards and recommendations for a set of binary prefixes that refer exclusively to powers of 1024. Accordingly, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) requires that SI prefixes only be used in the decimal sense: kilobyte and megabyte denote one thousand bytes and one million bytes respectively (consistent with SI), while new terms such as kibibyte, mebibyte and gibibyte, having the symbols KiB, MiB, and GiB, denote 1024 bytes, 1048576 bytes, and 1073741824 bytes, respectively. In 2008, the IEC prefixes were incorporated into the international standard system of units used alongside the International System of Quantities (see ISO/IEC 80000).

Color Quality Scale

Color Quality Scale (CQS) is a color rendering index (a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reproduce colors of illuminated objects). Developed by researchers at NIST the metric aims to overcome some of the issues inherent in the widely used CIE Ra.

The color space used in CIE Ra is outdated and nonuniform, and CQS uses CIELAB as a replacement.

The Von Kries chromatic adaptation transform used by Ra does not perform as well as other available models. CQS uses CMCCAT2000.

CIE Ra is based on desaturated samples, and a lamp's performance in rendering these samples fideliously is not necessarily linked to how it may perform with samples of higher saturation. CQS uses higher saturation samples.

‘Pure’ fidelity (where all deviations are considered bad) does not account for desired chromaticity changes. Increased saturation might be preferred. CQS does not penalise against increases in saturation.

In CIE Ra the arithmetic mean is taken of the color differences for the individual samples. In CQS the individual results are combined through a root mean square instead, so that a small number of poorly rendered objects reflects with greater strength in the overall result.

Negative values of CQS are made impossible due to their potential for consumer confusion.

CCTs of lower than 2800K are penalised so that the CQS is more representative of their actual color rendering as opposed to their fidelity.Several manufacturers are beginning to publish data on CQS scores of their products, including some who claim light sources with CQS scores up to 97.

Concurrent use registration

A concurrent use registration, in United States trademark law, is a federal trademark registration of the same trademark to two or more unrelated parties, with each party having a registration limited to a distinct geographic area. Such a registration is achieved by filing a concurrent use application (or by converting an existing application to a concurrent use application) and then prevailing in a concurrent use proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("TTAB"), which is a judicial body within the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO"). A concurrent use application may be filed with respect to a trademark which is already registered or otherwise in use by another party, but may be allowed to go forward based on the assertion that the existing use can co-exist with the new registration without causing consumer confusion.

The authority for this type of registration is set forth in the Lanham Act, which permits concurrent use registration where the concurrent use applicant made a good-faith adoption of the mark prior to the registrant filing an application for registration. Such registrations are most commonly achieved by agreement of the parties involved, although the USPTO must still determine that no confusion will be caused.

Consumers Digest

Founded in 1960 and published by Consumers Digest Communications, LLC, Consumers Digest ISSN 0010-7182 is an American magazine.

The magazine has no subscribers and does not test the products they select as 'Best Buys'. Instead, companies pay Consumers Digest for the right to promote their products as 'Best Buys'. They rely on consumer confusion of their name with the well-known Consumer Reports magazine, published by the nonprofit organization Consumers Union. Consumers Digest Communications is a privately owned, for-profit business entity.


The gigabyte () is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix giga means 109 in the International System of Units (SI). Therefore, one gigabyte is 1000000000bytes. The unit symbol for the gigabyte is GB.

This definition is used in all contexts of science, engineering, business, and many areas of computing, including hard drive, solid state drive, and tape capacities, as well as data transmission speeds. However, the term is also used in some fields of computer science and information technology to denote 1073741824 (10243 or 230) bytes, particularly for sizes of RAM. The use of gigabyte may thus be ambiguous. Hard disk capacities as described and marketed by drive manufacturers using the standard metric definition of the gigabyte, but when a 500-GB drive's capacity is displayed by, for example, Microsoft Windows, it is reported as 465 GB, using a binary interpretation.

To address this ambiguity, the International System of Quantities standardizes the binary prefixes which denote a series of integer powers of 1024. With these prefixes, a memory module that is labeled as having the size 1GB has one gibibyte (1GiB) of storage capacity.

Good faith estimate

A good faith estimate, referred to as a GFE, was a standard form that (prior to 2015) had to be provided by a mortgage lender or broker in the United States to a consumer, as required by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).

Since August 2015, GFE has been replaced by a loan estimate form, serving the same purpose but following slightly different guidelines set by CFPB, so as to reduce consumer confusion. A good faith estimate (or a loan estimate) is a standard form intended to be used to compare different offers (or quotes) from different lenders or brokers.

The estimate must include an itemized list of fees and costs associated with the loan and must be provided within 3 business days of applying for a loan. Since RESPA does not apply to Business Purpose Loans, no GFE is provided in those transactions.

These mortgage fees, also called settlement costs or closing costs, cover every expense associated with a home loan, including inspections, title insurance, taxes and other charges.

The good faith estimate is only an estimate. The final closing costs may be different; however the difference can only be 10% of the third party fees. Once a good faith estimate is issued the lender/broker cannot change the fees in the origination box.


The kilobyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information.

The International System of Units (SI) defines the prefix kilo as 1000 (103); per this definition, one kilobyte is 1000 bytes. The internationally recommended unit symbol for the kilobyte is kB.In some areas of information technology, particularly in reference to digital memory capacity, kilobyte instead denotes 1024 (210) bytes. This arises from the powers-of-two sizing common to memory circuit design. In this context, the symbols K and KB are often used.

List of trademark case law

This list contains an alphabetical listing of historically significant or leading case law in the area of US trademark law.

Mattel Inc v 3894207 Canada Inc

Mattel Inc v 3894207 Canada Inc [2006] 1 S.C.R. 772, 2006 SCC 22 is a leading decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on the infringement of famous trade-mark names. The Court found that Mattel Inc. could not enforce the use of their trade-marked name "BARBIE" against a restaurant named "Barbie's".


The megabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. Its recommended unit symbol is MB. The unit prefix mega is a multiplier of 1000000 (106) in the International System of Units (SI). Therefore, one megabyte is one million bytes of information. This definition has been incorporated into the International System of Quantities.

However, in the computer and information technology fields, several other definitions are used that arose for historical reasons of convenience. A common usage has been to designate one megabyte as 1048576bytes (220 B), a measurement that conveniently expresses the binary multiples inherent in digital computer memory architectures. However, most standards bodies have deprecated this usage in favor of a set of binary prefixes, in which this quantity is designated by the unit mebibyte (MiB). Less common is a convention that used the megabyte to mean 1000×1024 (1024000) bytes.

NES Classic Edition

Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition, known as Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System in Europe and Australia and Nintendo Classic Mini: Family Computer (Japanese: ニンテンドークラシックミニ ファミリーコンピュータ) in Japan, is a dedicated video game console by Nintendo, which emulates the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It launched on November 10, 2016 in Australia and Japan, and November 11, 2016 in North America and Europe. Aesthetically, the console is a miniature replica of the NES, and it includes a static library of 30 built-in games from the licensed NES library, supporting save states for all of them.

Nintendo produced and sold about 2.3 million NES Classic Editions from November 2016 through April 2017, with shipments selling out nearly immediately. In April 2017, Nintendo announced they were discontinuing the product, leading to consumer confusion, and incidents of greatly increased pricing among private sellers. Due to the demand of the NES Classic, and the success of the Super NES Classic Edition console, Nintendo re-introduced the NES Classic on June 29, 2018. Production was discontinued again, this time permanently, in December 2018., Inc. is an American internet retailer headquartered in Midvale, Utah, near Salt Lake City. Patrick M. Byrne founded the company in 1997 and launched the company in May 1999. initially sold exclusively surplus and returned merchandise on an online e-commerce marketplace, liquidating the inventories of at least 18 failed dot-com companies at below-wholesale prices. The company continues to sell home decor, furniture, bedding, and many other goods that are closeout merchandise, however, it also sells new merchandise.In May 2002, Overstock held an IPO at a per-share price of $13, and after achieving significant growth and profits in some early quarters, achieved a profit of $7.7 million in 2009 and reported its first billion-dollar year in 2010. The business started rebranding in early 2011, as "", to simplify and unify its international operations but interrupted this effort a few months later, citing consumer confusion over the new name.

Resin identification code

The ASTM International Resin Identification Coding System, often abbreviated as the RIC, is a set of symbols appearing on plastic products that identify the plastic resin out of which the product is made. It was developed in 1988 by the Society of the Plastics Industry (now the Plastics Industry Association) in the United States, but since 2008 it has been administered by ASTM International, an international standards organization.

Rosetta Stone Ltd. v. Google, Inc.

Rosetta Stone v. Google, 676 F.3d 144 (4th Cir. 2012), was a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that challenged the legality of Google's AdWords program. The Court overturned a grant of summary judgment for Google that had held Google AdWords was not a violation of trademark law (see federal Lanham Act,15 U.S.C. § 1114(1)).

Though other cases had addressed trademark infringement in the context of online keyword advertising (see Playboy Enterprises, Inc. v. Netscape Communications Corp., Google, Inc. v. American Blind & Wallpaper Factory, Inc.) Rosetta Stone v. Google is considered the last serious American challenge to Google's AdWords program. Although Rosetta Stone 'won' an overturn of summary judgment, the subsequent settlement between the two parties left commentators declaring the Google has 'won' the keyword advertising trademark fight.


Semi-generic is a legal term used in by the United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to refer to a specific type of wine designation. The majority of these were originally based on the names of well-known European wine-producing regions. Consumers didn't recognize grape varieties at that time and New World producers used the familiar names to suggest the style of wine they were offering for sale. U.S. regulations require that semi-generic names (for example, California champagne) may be used on a wine label only if there appears next to such name the appellation of "the actual place of origin" in order to prevent any possible consumer confusion.


The tebibyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. It is a member of the set of units with binary prefixes defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Its unit symbol is TiB.

The prefix tebi (symbol Ti) represents multiplication by 10244, therefore:

1 tebibyte = 240 bytes = 1099511627776bytes = 1024 gibibytes1024 TiB = 1 pebibyte (PiB)The tebibyte is closely related to the terabyte (TB), which is defined as 1012 bytes = 1000000000000bytes. It follows that one tebibyte (1 TiB) is approximately equal to 1.1 TB.

In some contexts, the terabyte has been used as a synonym for tebibyte. (see Consumer confusion).

Trademark infringement

Trademark infringement is a violation of the exclusive rights attached to a trademark without the authorization of the trademark owner or any licensees (provided that such authorization was within the scope of the licence). Infringement may occur when one party, the "infringer", uses a trademark which is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark owned by another party, in relation to products or services which are identical or similar to the products or services which the registration covers. An owner of a trademark may commence civil legal proceedings against a party which infringes its registered trademark. In the United States, the Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984 criminalized the intentional trade in counterfeit goods and services.If the respective marks and products or services are entirely dissimilar, trademark infringement may still be established if the registered mark is well known pursuant to the Paris Convention. In the United States, a cause of action for use of a mark for such dissimilar services is called trademark dilution.

In some jurisdictions a party other than the owner (e.g., a licensee) may be able to pursue trademark infringement proceedings against an infringer if the owner fails to do so.

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