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March 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 3
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Report on the Survey on the Code of Ethics

Key Findings Provide Statistical Support for Code Proposed to TIA

“[Forty-four percent of respondents] know a company, designer and/or inventor that has had one of its original product designs copied without permission.”
For the past two years, a committee of concerned members of the toy and game industry has been studying and discussing a proposed Code of Ethics. The proposed document has been accepted for review by the Toy Industry Association.

Subsequently, a survey was designed to learn more. Following is a summary of the Code of Ethics Survey Report prepared by Stuart Montaldo of Cogno Products. He has provided a powerful first look at the issue from an objective view. This work will go far to solidify the concerns and to help guide the next steps for action on this issue.
― Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D., and Marshall P. Gavin,
Co-Chairs, Ad-Hoc Committee, Code of Ethics


This survey was initiated by a committee comprising toy and game industry members, and was distributed via email to subscribers of Playthings Magazine and TDmonthly Magazine. It was designed to objectively assess experiences and attitudes regarding business ethics.

The survey is still open, and so the count may continue to grow, but 403 surveys were received as of the beginning of February 2007.


The survey was administered in January and February 2007, through, an Internet research tool that is regularly employed by research professionals. The link to the survey was sent by email to TDmonthly and Playthings subscribers.

Respondents represented a mix of industry constituents. The category “retailer” was inadvertently left off as a choice, so a percentage of the respondents who are retailers is indicated under “Other” in the full results (see link at bottom of page). Ninety-one percent of all respondents reside in the United States.

Statistical Confidence

A total of 403 surveys were collected, though respondents occasionally skipped particular questions. The number of responses to the substantive questions in the survey (those referenced in the key findings below) ranged from 334 to 396. Therefore, margin of error for the data is + or - 4.6 percent or better, at a 90 percent confidence level (except where noted below). For all key questions, the responses varied far more than 4.6 percent; therefore the results are considered statistically significant.

Key Findings

Awareness/Personal Experience

  • Forty-four percent know a company, designer and/or inventor that has had one of its original product designs copied without permission.
  • Nearly 12 percent of all respondents have been personally involved in a legal action for such an incident.
  • Twenty-one percent have been asked to purchase (for resale) or manufacture a substantially similar copy of an original product.

Trade Associations and Ethics

  • Ninety percent “strongly agree” (69.8 percent) or “somewhat agree” (20.2 percent) that trade associations should have basic standards for ethical conduct.
  • Slightly more than 90 percent “strongly agree” (72.8 percent) or “somewhat agree” (19.6 percent) that parties should agree to these standards as a requirement for membership.
  • Seventy percent would either lobby to “change the decision” (29.1 percent) or consider “canceling membership” (40.9 percent) if an association refused to adopt “sensibly worded ethics principles.”

Industry-Wide Ethics

  • Slightly more than 96 percent of respondents consider it “important” (74 percent) or “somewhat important” (22.3 percent) that our industry, as a whole, should act more ethically.
  • Five times as many respondents think unethical behavior is “on the rise” vs. those who think it is “on the decline” (30.5 percent vs. 5.7 percent; confidence level on this question is + or - 5.7 percent due to only 213 responses).

Survey results, in their entirety, can be viewed at

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