The Volokh Conspiracy

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"Gynecology … Is Obviously Far Removed from Music"

So concludes the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board, in rejecting rapper Dr. Dre's trademark claim against OB/GYN -- and OB/GYN-related writer and lecturer -- Draion M. Burch, who calls himself Dr. Drai.


In Young v. Burch, Dr. Burch had applied to register the mark "Dr. Drai," and rapper Andre Young, better known as "Dr. Dre," opposed the application. No dice, said the board:

Although Opposer has established that his name Dr. Dre is of sufficient fame or reputation, Opposer has 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.

Excerpts from the rationale:

Applicant's entertainment and educational motivational speaking services which are specifically limited in content to osteopathic medicine, obstetrics and gynecology are a subject matter which is obviously far removed from music. With regard to Applicant's educational and motivational speaking services generally, (and those not limited by content), Opposer has provided no evidence of the relatedness of the parties' respective services. Absent extrinsic evidence as to how musical composition, musical production and educational and motivational speaking services are related, the fact that these services fall within the general category of entertainment is insufficient on its face to show relatednes….

Although it is not necessary for Opposer to show that consumers would believe Applicant's goods or services would emanate from Opposer, the record still must support a likely association that results from Applicant's use of its marks, such that it seems likely that the consumer will think that there is some kind of connection. However, there is no evidence to establish that Opposer's reputation in the recording or entertainment industry is of such a nature that a connection (sponsorship, approval, support or the like) with Applicant's educational and motivational speaking services or its medical and health care products and services would be presumed when Applicant's DR. DRAI marks are used on such goods and services.

Sounds right to me.