In 2015, Dr. Dre entered into a trademark infringement battle with a gynecologist named Draion M. Burch. The Pennsylvania-based doctor sought to trademark his name as Dr. Drai, but was met with objections from the hip-hop mogul, who feared the similarities in their names would confuse consumers and fans alike.
Now, some three years later, the US trademark office has finally weighed in and decided to dismiss Dr. Dre’s case, as the BBC reports. In its ruling, it argued that, despite the name similarities, the Compton rapper had failed to show that people would in fact be misled into unintentionally purchasing Dr. Burch’s products instead of Dre’s own.
The trademark office noted that because of Dr. Burch’s expensive speaking engagement fees (roughly $5,000) — he’s also a published author in the field — it’s likely customers would exercise caution and use their due diligence before forking over any money.
For his part, Dr. Burch maintained that he wasn’t trying to conduct his business using Dr. Dre’s popularity and reputation as it would be “a bad reflection on me as a doctor,” citing some of the MC’s more controversial lyrics. In his defense, Dr. Burch also said customers would be unlikely to mistake one for the other since “Dr. Dre is not a medical doctor nor is he qualified to provide any type of medical services or sell products specifically in the medical or healthcare industry.”
If the case had been brought up, say, in the late ’80s or early ’90s, I could understand Dr. Dre’s concern regarding his still-young name. But in 2015? After being a pioneer in West Coast rap; a successful entrepreneur; a record label CEO; and a legendary mentor credited with the discovery of acts like Eminem and Anderson .Paak? I would think that he himself understands how iconic his name is; it sounds like the trademark office certainly does.