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On the Heels of Prince $160 Million Estate Controversy, Energy Drink Company Tries — and Fails — to Trademark ‘Purple Rain’

An energy drink company failed to get the OK for the trademark of Prince’s famous Purple Rain.

Bang Energy wanted to secure the trademark of “Purple Rain,” which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected because the phrase is a concept “uniquely and unmistakably” created by the late artist Prince, according to Billboard.

DETROIT, MI – NOVEMBER 4: American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, actor, and filmmaker Prince (1958-2016) performs onstage during the 1984 Purple Rain Tour on November 4, 1984, at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Ross Marino/Getty Images)

What the Judge Said

“Consumers encountering applicant’s mark, when used in connection with applicant’s goods, will presume a connection between ‘Purple Rain’ and Prince,” said a judge on the decision.

What Prince’s Lawyers Said

Attorneys for the artist’s estate claim that the words “Purple Rain” belong to Prince and believe the term is associated with his work.

“‘Purple rain’ is not a word in the English language. Prince chose the phrase and made it famous through a Grammy-winning album, a major motion picture, a song performed around the world, and the iconic image of the late artist in the costume, movie and tour. For the great majority of consumers, the only significance the term ‘Purple Rain’ has is to identify Prince and the image he made famous,” Prince’s attorneys said.

Prince’s estate is shared between Primary Wave and Prince Legacy LLC.

The battle between Prince’s estate and his heirs was finally settled in August after a six-year fight to determine control over the pop star’s approximately $160 million fortune left behind after his sudden death on April 21, 2016. Under the agreement, his surviving relatives will split a little under $6 million from the $156.4 million estate. That split will be between Prince’s sister, Sharon Nelson, his brother Norrine Nelson, and the John R. Nelson Revocable Trust, Prince Legacy LLC, Prince OAT Holdings LLC, attorney L. Londell McMillan, Charles Spicer, and Primary Wave Music. Primary Wave Music had previously acquired part of the estate from three other siblings (Tyka Nelson, Omarr Baker, Alfred Jackson).

Survey says Purple Rain Is Associated with Prince

Prince’s lawyers are right, in a survey cited in the case, 63 percent of participants say the words “Purple Rain” is word associated with “‘Prince’ or one of his works, like his 1984 rock musical film or the album and hit song of the same name.

What is Purple Rain?

Purple Rain is the name of his album and his dubut of his 1984 movie of the same namesake. However, as Prince explained, “[It’s when] there’s blood in the sky – red and blue = purple… purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god guide you through the purple rain.”

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