News: Pharrell Gets Gritty, Fights Back Against Will.i.am

Tuesday, Jul 2, 2013 9:09AM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Mega producer Pharrell Williams is not going to sit while fellow hitmaker Will.i.am files a copyright infringement lawsuit against him and has decided to fight back.

According to reports, Pharrell has sought legal action against the Black Eyed Peas frontman.

Hit-maker Pharrell Williams wants a judge to rule that a trademark for his "I am OTHER" company is not infringing on will.i.am's "I AM" trademark. Williams filed legal papers Monday in federal court in Manhattan. He's seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement. The two artists have been in dispute for the past several months over the issue. A lawyer for will.i.am declined to comment. The Black Eyed Peas member has owned the "I AM" trademark since 2001. He filed objections in March and May against Pharrell Williams' company, i am OTHER, that launched in 2010. He uses "I AM" for his businesses, including his charity foundation I AM ANGEL. Williams' i am OTHER produces the hit Web series "Awkward Black Girl" and other Web series. (CBS News)

Coincidentally, Will denied reports of suing Williams last week.

"i.am not suing @Pharrell & I NEVER WAS.. What i.am doing is... #iamSCHOLARSHIP sending kids to school debt free. go2 http://www.iamANGELfoundation.org," he tweeted June 27th.
"i.am not suing @Pharrell & i never was. what i.am doing is #iamHOME helping families keep their homes... see http://www.iamangelfoundation.org"
"i.am not suing @Pharrell and I never was... what i.am doing is #iamangel TRANS4Ming inner cities with #STEAM tools... http://www.iamangelfoundation.org"
"@360MEDIAUK i am not suing @Pharrell, I NEVER WAS what i am doin is #iamSCHOLARSHIP sending kids to college debt free http://www.iamANGELfoundation.org"
"@PerezHilton i never was & i.am not suing @Pharrell but im doing #iamSCHOLARSHIP sending kids to college debt free. http://www.iamANGELfoundation.org"
"question: what do you do with success...? what do you do with time...? what is this all for...? answer: #helpPEOPLE" (Will.i.am's Twitter)

Details of the reported lawsuit surfaced across the Internet last Wednesday (June 26).

Will.i.am is taking legal action against Pharrell Williams over the latter's new creative brand "i am OTHER" - claiming that he owns the copyright to the phrase "I AM" and that Pharrell's logo is "confusingly similar," according to official court documents obtained by Rolling Stone. In his notice of opposition, Will.i.am argues that Pharrell would be using his "i am OTHER" brand on clothing and other items in a manner similar to the goods that bear his own "I AM" logo. "The registration of the mark . . . is likely to dilute the I AM mark and the WILL.I.AM mark," the document reads. (Rolling Stone)

Williams immediately responded, via statement, and admitted the suit caught him off-guard.

"I am disappointed that Will, a fellow artist, would file a case against me," Pharrell says in a statement to RS. "I am someone who likes to talk things out and, in fact, I attempted to do just that on many occasions. I am surprised in how this is being handled and I am confident that Will's trademark claims will ultimately be found to be as meritless and ridiculous as I do." (Statement)

Over the past few years, Pharrell has popularized his I Am Other brand.

The musician and fashion mogul has paired up with branded entertainment producer United Entertainment Group to launch I Am Other as a content-driven property that spotlights new musicians, filmmakers, designers, artists and innovators through online, mobile and retail channels, TV shows and films. Venture is being formally introduced to marketers Tuesday as they're gathered in Gotham to choose which TV shows to advertise around this fall. I Am Other is courting those same sponsors. It's designed around products and experiences that Williams will curate and recommend to his millions of fans and followers for them to purchase. I Am Other will also bow this fall, fitting in with the media planning of buyers at the upfronts. (Variety)

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