Dr Dre loses trademark battle

NEW YORK • Would you confuse Dr Dre with Dr Drai?

Dr Dre is the stage name of rapper-producer Andre Young, credited with discovering rap icons such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem. Dr Drai, whose real name is Draion M. Burch, is a Pennsylvania-based gynaecologist and media personality.

Given their divergent careers, it might seem hard to fathom that anyone could get the two mixed up.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office agreed. Last week, it ended a years-long legal fight between the duo, dismissing a case lodged by Dr Dre.

The ruling said the rapper had failed to show people would be misled by the Dr Drai branding.

According to documents, Burch chose to go by Dr Drai because "that's my name". "When I became a physician and I graduated from medical school, I became Dr Drai, obviously because I'm a physician."

He argued people are unlikely to confuse his services and products with the rapper's because Dr Dre "is not a medical doctor nor is he qualified to provide any type of medical services or sell products in the medical or healthcare industry".

Dr Dre had objected on the grounds that Burch intended to use Dr Drai to "trade on the goodwill generated by" his already famous name.

But the gynaecologist said being associated with the rapper's brand would be more likely to harm his practice. He said the rapper is known for "misogyny and homophobic things", citing some lyrics and songs as examples.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2018, with the headline 'Dr Dre loses trademark battle'. Print Edition | Subscribe