A tribunal at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has delivered a verdict in favor of the Prince Estate over Bang Energy, which tried to trademark “Purple Rain” by applying the phrase to their energy drinks, dietary supplements and sports beverages.
Announcing their ruling in Prince Estate’s favor, the judges said the phrase “uniquely and unmistakably” belongs to the late musician Prince, who released the iconic song “Purple Rain” in 1984.
One of the judges said, “Consumers encountering applicant’s mark, when used in connection with applicant’s goods, will presume a connection between ‘Purple Rain’ and Prince.”
The ruling also cited a survey that said roughly 63% of the participants responded with “Prince” when asked what “comes to mind” when they saw the phrase “Purple Rain.”
Prince’s estate noted in their argument that “Purple Rain” is not a phrase that is commonly used to refer to anything other than Prince’s song or his film of the same name. As a result, Bang’s use of the name would only incur damages to the estate and brand with the assumption the two are connected.
“Purple Rain is a Prince mark and brand known worldwide,” the estate said. “Please respect these unique assets or suffer at your own peril.”
After the verdict, Bang Energy CEO Jack Owoc said in a statement that he was a “big fan” of the artist. He added, “We greatly respect Prince and his estate and will not ‘rain’ on their parade. Maybe we can negotiate a deal in the future that is mutually beneficial to both parties.”
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