The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) dismissed hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre’s opposition to registration of the trademark DR. DRAI (and related marks) by Dr. Draion M. Burch. Dr. Burch is an OB-GYN who is known professionally as "Dr. Drai" in connection with his work as a doctor, author, speaker, and consultant.
Dr. Dre argued that the DR. DRAI marks suggested a false connection with him and that consumers were likely to be confused as to whether he authorized, sponsored, or was otherwise affiliated with the goods and services offered under the marks. While Dr. Dre initially also alleged dilution of his DR. DRE mark, he elected not to pursue that allegation at trial.
The TTAB held that the goods and services covered by Dr. Drai’s trademark applications were so unrelated to Dr. Dre’s music work that confusion was not likely. Dr. Drai’s trademark applications cover educational and entertainment services, health care consulting, audio books, mp3s, webinars, podcasts, and publications, all in the fields of medicine, health, and obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Dre’s arguments relied on his ownership of the mark DR. DRE, for which he has federal trademark registrations covering music entertainment and production services, musical recordings, posters, and apparel.
The TTAB agreed with Dr. Dre that the mark DR. DRAI is similar in sight, sound and appearance to the DR. DRE trademark, and that the DR. DRE mark is strong due to Dr. Dre’s fame, all key factors in analyzing the likelihood of confusion that Dr. Dre alleged. Despite that, the TTAB was not persuaded that consumers encountering Dr. Drai’s services regarding women’s health would likely be confused as to whether those services were in any way related to a hip-hop artist and music producer. The TTAB rejected Dr. Dre’s allegation of a false connection on the same grounds.
Dr. Dre has the option of appealing the TTAB’s decision to the Federal Circuit or a federal district court.