Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Use of “Conjoint” Survey Analysis did not Render Expert’s Opinion Unreliable

The court denied defendant's motion to exclude plaintiff's conjoint market research surveys. "[Plaintiff's expert] describes conjoint analysis as a type of survey or market research, which, at the most general level, conceptualizes products as bundles of attributes, treating price as an attribute. Conjoint analysis uses customer surveys to determine 'values' for each attribute. By choosing among multiple bundles of attributes, survey participants make implicit tradeoffs one would make in real-world purchasing decisions. . . . According to [plaintiff's expert], studies have validated that this implicit tradeoff is more reliable than asking consumers directly what they would pay for a specific feature. . . . [Defendant's] criticism of the survey designs is more appropriate for consideration by a jury, rather than the Court on a Daubert motion. The Ninth Circuit has stated that '[u]nlike novel scientific theories, a jury should be able to determine whether asserted technical deficiencies undermine a survey’s probative value.'. . . [T]he Court recognizes the oddity in finding such a high valuation of each individual product feature. Nevertheless, the literature on conjoint analysis condones testing six or fewer variables to produce results with a better predictive value, and the Court will not exclude the [expert's] surveys for failing to depart from this accepted methodology."

TV Interactive Data Corporation v. Sony Corporation, et. al., 3-10-cv-00475 (CAND March 1, 2013, Order) (Spero, M.J.).

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