Andre Romelle Young, also known as Dr. Dre, is a rapper, producer, and businessman. Around 1984, he started to use the nickname Dr. Dre, which is a combination of his previous alias Dr. J and his first name; referring to himself as a master DJ.
In 1986, Dr. Dre became an original member of the rap group N.W.A. which consisted of Arabian Prince, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube, DJ Yella, and MC Ren. Later, in 1991, he co-founded Death Row Records that launched the careers of artists such as Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur.
Fast forward to 2015, a Pennsylvania-based gynecologist named Draion M. Burch submitted a trademark application for the name Doctor Drai, which is the shorted version of his first name. Dr. Burch is a media personality, sex expert, and author. He submitted a trademark for the name because he offers medical and motivational speaking services along with videos and podcasts.
Dr. Dre immediately objected to the trademark application stating that both names, while spelled differently, are pronounced the same way, which can confuse consumers. In addition to that, Dr. Burch’s speaking engagements take place in a “non-medical setting,” which Dr. Dre states for trademark application purposes should be considered as entertainment versus medical.
James Weinberger, the attorney for Dr. Dre went on to argue that Dr. Drai “implied a false suggestion of a connection” between the rap mogul and doctor.
Dr. Burch’s attorney, Andrea Evans, said: “His nickname all his life has been Drai, and he’s a medical doctor. What you notice about doctors who cross over into having a brand, they typically go by their first name. Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Dr. Drai.”
On May 3rd the trademark panel dismissed Dr. Dre’s argument regarding the trademark use of Dr. Drai.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office stated, “Entertainment and educational motivational speaking services, which are specifically limited in content to osteopathic medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, are a subject matter which is obviously far removed from music.”
In the documentation to the appeal board, Dr. Drai said “I was just appalled how someone would think that I wanted to be them and I actually went to medical school.” There has been no comment from Dr. Dre after the ruling.