PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – To look at them, it’s pretty hard to confuse Dr. Dre, the hip hop rap artist and music producer whose real name is Andre Young, with Dr. Drai, an OB/GYN and self-styled media personality based in Pittsburgh whose full name is Dr. Draion Burch.
“It’s his nickname. His name is Draion. His nickname is Drai, and he goes by Dr. Drai because he is an actual licensed medical doctor,” says his patent attorney, Andrea Hence Evans, based in Laurel, Maryland, outside Washington, DC. “My client, Dr. Drai, the OB/GYN, filed a trademark to protect his name for medical services and medical products.”
But when the medical Dr. Drai sought to register his name as a trademark, the hip-hop Dr. Dre protested, claiming that his well-known moniker would be confused, connected, and diluted by the medical Dr. Drai.
“He actually said there would be a false connection, that my client was trying to make a profit off his famous name,” Evans told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Thursday.
Not so, said the medical Dr. Drai.
After all, that’s his given name, and there’s a big difference between the medical advice he dispenses about women’s health and what the rap star does, says Evans.
“Our argument was basically that they would not cause confusion, that they were in two different industries, consumers were very different, that there would be no false suggestion or any connection at all with the brand,” Evans said.
In an 49-page opinion by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the rap star lost his challenge and the medical Dr. Drai can trademark and protect his own Dr. Drai name.
“We are very proud that our client was awarded his trademark registration, and he’s actually able to continue to use his name not only as an individual but also as the brand that it is,” Evans said.
No word yet on whether the rapper Dr. Dre will appeal the decision.