Dr Dre looks to protect ‘Beats’ mark

April 2013

Artistes, all areas


Rapper Dr. Dre and the company he co-founded, Beats Electronics, LLC, are on the offensive at the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board challenging a multitude of third-party applications for marks which consist of or contain the word “Beat”. The company owns a number of trademark registrations for use of its various BEATS marks on headphones, speakers, headsets, and other related electronic products and has applications pending for future use on clothing and other items. The WSH law blog reports that the targets of this campaign are mix of smaller, little-known companies as well as big players such as Sony.

The company claims a “likelihood of confusion” between its alleged rights in its various BEATS marks and the various “BEAT” marks applied for by third parties.  Sony, for example, has applied to register the mark “BEATS” for computer games, toy figures, and online gaming services, none of which are incorporated in any of the registrations or applications owned by Beats Electronic

It also claims for “dilution” of its rights by the proposed uses of these various marks. The goods and which are the subject of some of the opposed applications include clothing, software, electronic greeting cards, music production services, audio and video recordings, digital music, CDs, DVDs, electronic greeting cards, and the like. For a dilution claim to succeed it is not necessary to prove competition, likely confusion, or any overlap in the goods and services between the parties issue. However, in order for a dilution claim to succeed, the proponent must own a “famous” and” distinctive” mark: the BEATS trademark has only been in use for a little under five years on headphones and for less time than that on other of the products it sells. Whether the company can prove that in this short period of time its  “BEATS” mark has become famous enough to successfully assert a claim for dilution remains to be seen.


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