Energy Brands, Inc. -- United States Patent and Trademark Office, Trademark Examining Division

The Situation

Energy Brands. Inc., also known as Glaceau, introduced a new beverage called Vitamin Water, which quickly became very popular. As competitors began to introduce their own nutrient-enhanced waters, Energy Brands wanted to trademark the name "Vitamin Water." However, before they could obtain the trademark, they had to demonstrate that consumers believed that the term "Vitamin Water" was associated with beverages from only one company.

NERA's Role

NERA was retained to design and conduct a survey that would determine whether the name "Vitamin Water" had secondary meaning. We designed and conducted a telephone survey of 180 respondents, which showed that consumers associated the product name "Vitamin Water" with one company.

The Result

Energy Brands submitted the results of the survey to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which subsequently granted the client the trademark for Vitamin Water. Energy Brands later hired NERA again when PepsiCo introduced a new drink, Life Water, the packaging for which copied the distinctive appearance of Vitamin Water's packaging. NERA helped the client protect its trade dress by conducting another survey, which showed that consumers were confused as to the source of Life Water due to the product packaging. PepsiCo withdrew the packaging as part of the settlement of the case.