As he asserts in the classic track “I Would Die 4 U,” Prince isn’t a woman, and he isn’t a man—he’s something the listener could never understand. Whatever that third, more complicated thing is however, it isn’t an energy drink, and Prince’s estate has made sure of that. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has sided with the late pop innovator in a lawsuit, formally rejecting energy drink brand Bang Energy’s ploy to use “Purple Rain” in promotional materials for their drinks and supplements, Billboard reports.
Prince’s life work and assets have been a consistent topic in the courts since his death in 2016—the artist died without leaving a will. In lieu of that, all of the artist’s belongings (including the rights to his musical catalog) are in the process of being divided between his descendants, their personal advisors, and the management company Primary Wave.
“Purple rain’ is not a word in the English language,” attorneys for the Prince Estate write in their filing. “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.”
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office strongly agreed, with one judge ruling: “Consumers encountering applicant’s mark, when used in connection with applicant’s goods, will presume a connection between ‘Purple Rain’ and Prince.”
Although their hopes for glam-rock branding greatness may be dashed, Bang Energy released a statement graciously accepting the decision but leaving the door open. “We greatly respect Prince and his estate and will not ‘rain’ on their parade,” the statement reads. “Maybe we can negotiate a deal in the future that is mutually beneficial to both parties.” Prince’s estate’s feeling seems closer to “maybe when pigs fly”—or, more aptly, when doves cry.