Pharrell Williams and Will.i.am Settle Trademark Lawsuit

Pop stars reach mutual understanding over I Am Other and I.Am.Symbolic brand dispute

Pharrell, Will.i.am.
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images; Kevin Mazur/Child11/WireImage
March 11, 2014 3:15 PM ET

Pop stars Pharrell Williams and will.i.am have settled their legal differences in a trademark dispute, while also tackling some of life's Big Questions about identity and just who they are. Last year, Williams attempted to trademark the name of his "creative venture and way of life" I Am Other. The Black Eyed Peas frontman objected and sought legal action against the "Happy" singer, saying that people could confuse Williams' company with will.i.am's I.Am.Symbolic company. While Williams subsequently sought a declaratory judgment of trademark noninfringement, The Hollywood Reporter notes that the prickly pair has settled its differences.

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Williams' original argument in his lawsuit was that the Black Eyed Peas artist's mark was too generic. "The I Am Other mark means 'I am something else,' leaving what that 'else' is to the imagination of the consumer," his paperwork said. "It certainly does not mean 'I am Will' or in any way suggest defendants' or the will.i.am mark."

Furthermore, he also claimed that will.i.am would have a hard time proving that he controlled the "I Am" trademark, considering the existence of a certain Dr. Seuss character who has had an unusual and inexplicable predilection for green eggs and ham since 1960. Williams also cited 146 artists who use the "I Am" construction in their monikers, including I Am Virgin, I Am Ghost and I Am Band.

Will.i.am countered by saying Williams did not respect intellectual property, claiming that not only was the "Happy" singer involved in Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" lawsuit with the estate of Marvin Gaye, but also cofounded a record label called Star Trak Entertainment.

Ultimately, the two pop stars are settling out of court. Last June, Williams told Rolling Stone he thought the whole case was "ridiculous." "I am disappointed that Will, a fellow artist, would file a case against me," he said. "I am someone who likes to talk things out and, in fact, I attempted to do just that on many occasions."

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