Prince's estate wins case over Purple Rain energy drink trademark

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Prince's estate recently shut down Bang Energy's attempt to trademark the phrase "purple rain".

On 23 August, a tribunal at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office formally rejected energy drink company Bang's attempt to trademark the phrase "purple rain" for their brand.

Billboard reports that a Bang Energy subsidiary requested the trademark in 2020 for use on their energy drinks, dietary supplements, and sports beverages.

However, the judges decided that the phrase "uniquely and unmistakably" belongs to the late musician Prince, who released his iconic song Purple Rain in 1984.

"Consumers encountering applicant's mark, when used in connection with applicant's goods, will presume a connection between 'purple rain' and Prince," one judge said during the ruling.

As evidence, the ruling cited a survey that asked respondents "what comes to mind" when hearing the phrase; approximately 63 per cent responded with Prince, his album, single, or musical film of the same name.

Attorneys for the Prince estate wrote in their filing to oppose the trademark: "For the great majority of consumers, the only significance the term 'purple rain' has is to identify Prince and the image he made famous."

After the verdict was handed down, 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."

Prince died in 2016.