The doctor is officially in. Rap legend Dr. Dre lost the trademark lawsuit against physician Dr. Drai over the public use of the name.
Two Very Different People
Although the names are pronounced much the same way, they belong to two very different people. Dre is known for the classic album The Chronic. Drai is a Pennsylvania-based gynecologist and media personality, who is neither a hip-hop star nor a musician.
Dre is credited with discovering the likes of Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and 50 Cent. Drai touts himself as one of the country's top experts on women's health.
It is difficult to imagine anybody mixing these two men up, in spite of the similarity of their chosen monikers.
No Confusion Here
As it turns out, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office agrees. Last week, they officially called time on a years-long legal fight between the rapper and the doctor, dismissing a case lodged by Dre on the grounds that consumers might be confused by their similar names.
The ruling confirmed Dre failed to show how people would be misled by the Dr. Drai branding and might purchase his products thinking they were the hip-hop star's.
To be clear, Dre is associated with rap music and selling headphones. Drai hosts sex ed classes for young adults and teens and features in webinars about his field of expertise. There is virtually no overlap between their worlds.
The Battle Lines Are Drawn
The battle began back in 2015, when Drai, whose real name is Draion M. Burch, submitted applications to trademark the name "Dr. Drai." He intended to use the brand on audio books and seminars.
Dre argued that his name is sufficiently related to the types of services and products Burch offers, including MP3 files, magazines, audiobooks, and other public performances, associated with the greater entertainment industry of which he is a major component.
Burch received a cease and desist letter from the rapper, which left him confused and angry.
"[I was] appalled how someone would think I wanted to be them. I was hurt that someone was attacking me in my position as being a doctor," he explained.
Court documents confirmed that Burch chose the name Dr. Drai because, very simply, that is his actual name.
"When I became a physician and I graduated from medical school, I became Dr. Drai, obviously because I'm actually a physician," he said, nodding to the fact that Dr. Dre isn't a real doctor.
Burch argued that consumers are unlikely to confuse his services and products with those of Dre because the rapper isn't an actual doctor and wouldn't be offering medical services or products.
He's Happy Being Himself
The hip-hop icon also objected to the use of the moniker because Burch intended to trade off the goodwill generated by his well-known name.
Drai argued that he wouldn't want to be associated with Dre's negative image anyway, particularly in relation to homophobic material in his music.
"Being part of the LGBT community, that's when I said, you know, 'I cannot be associated with that. And being an OB-GYN, I cannot be associated with anyone that has any kind of misogynistic speech, because it's a bad reflection on me as a doctor," he explained.
The U.S. Trademark Court ultimately concluded that Dr. Dre and Dr. Drai's careers are in no way similar, and there were no grounds for the suit.