Rap vs Pap: Dr Dre Loses Trademark Battle With Gynecologist Dr Drai
In a surprising clash of music and medicine, Dr. Dre faced defeat at the conclusion of a trademark battle he waged against Pennsylvania OB/GYN Dr. Drai, with the former rapper concerned that some kind of confusion would result would occur between the two professionals
Guest post by Timothy Geigner of Techdirt
I trust that readers of this site young and old will be familiar with Dr. Dre. The wildly famous rapper has made hit records, produced some of the biggest names in hip hop, been a mogul in the music hardware space with his headphone line, and performed countless pelvic exams on women throughout the American northeast.
Wait, that last part can't be right. Surely I was legitimately confused by the existence of Dr. Drai, an OB/GYN in Pennsylvania who dared attempt to get a trademark on his name for his doctor-ly practice. It seems that Dr. Dre has been locked in a trademark opposition with Dr. Drai going on three years, arguing that the absurd example of faked confusion above is actually likely to happen for real.
Dr. Drai, a Pennsylvania-based gynecologist filed in 2015 to trademark his name and “Doctor Drai OBGYN & Media Personality." Dr. Dre tried to pump the brakes on that application, claiming it would cause confusion in the marketplace … since their names sound alike.
The gyno was born Draion M. Burch, but according to his application he's been going by Dr. Drai for years. He's authored books and makes public appearances using it.
Dre's opposition is obviously, and hilariously, without merit. The whole point of trademark law is to keep the public from being confused as to the source of goods and services. Because of that, trademarks are valid only for given markets. Dr. Dre has a perfectly valid trademark case to make in the realm of music and entertainment. He has zero case to make in the realm of medical practices, no matter what stage name he chose to take all those years ago. In short, no woman is scheduling a visit with a gynecologist under the impression that the D.R.E. would be the one performing it.
The trademark office, of course, agreed.
The trademark office agreed with the medical doc, saying although the gangsta doc was well known … there wasn't enough evidence people would be confused. Let's be honest … no one's downloading "The Chronic" from a gyno. Although, sounds like there should be a shot for that.
Point being … the case was dismissed.
Don't worry, Dre. We still won't forget about you.