Rapper and music mogul Dr Dre has lost a dispute over his name, after he tried to prevent gynaecologist Draion M Burch from trademarking the name Dr Drai.
As well as practising gynaecological and obstetric medicine, Burch is the author of books including 20 Things You May Not Know About the Vagina, and is a public speaker on women’s health issues.
Dre, real name Andre Young, argued the public would be confused at the similarity of the names; Burch argued there would be no such confusion “because 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”.
The US trademark office – which characterised Dre’s work as containing “harder-than-the-rest braggadocio to customary disses of ex-comrade Ice Cube and mind-boggling misogyny” – found in favour of Burch, saying Young had “failed to show that a connection would be presumed in the mind of the consuming public when Applicant’s Dr Drai marks are used in connection with its applied-for goods and services.”
Burch had further argued that he wasn’t trying to use the Dr Dre name to advance his own, because he found his rap lyrics offensive to the women he worked with. “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 said.
Dr Dre is one of the most successful ever rappers and producers, having gone from early Compton rap groups World Class Wreckin’ Cru and NWA to a successful solo career, including as a record label executive who nurtured the likes of Eminem and 50 Cent. In 2014, he sold the Beats Electronics headphone and music brand he co-founded with Jimmy Iovine to Apple for $3bn.