.

Will.i.am Denies Suing Pharrell Over Copyright Claim

Lawyer says action is a 'run-of-the-mill trademark procedure'

Will.i.am
Ross Schultz/Newspix/Getty Images
June 27, 2013 1:25 PM ET

A lawyer for will.i.am has responded to what he calls "misinformation" surrounding the Black Eyed Peas leader's copyright claim against Pharrell Williams' new "i am OTHER" brand. In a statement, attorney Ken Hertz said that his client is not suing Pharrell, but is engaging in a "run-of-the-mill trademark procedure" in order to "defend trademarks that have been registered and that [will.i.am] has used widely and continuously for many years."

Will.i.am owns the copyright to the phrase "I AM" and claims that Pharrell's new brand is "confusingly similar" and that the "i am OTHER" logo would appear on goods in a manner similar to those that bear will.i.am's mark. "The registration of the mark . . . is likely to dilute the I AM mark and the WILL.I.AM mark," the document reads.

Random Notes: Hottest Rock Pictures

"I am disappointed that Will, a fellow artist, would file a case against me," Pharrell told Rolling Stone. "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."

In his own statement though, Hertz said that will.i.am's trademark lawyer reached out to Pharrell's after a third-party "watch" service alerted them to the registration of a similar mark about a year ago. Though the two attorneys attempted to resolve the dispute over several months, Hertz says Trademark Office deadlines forced will.i.am to lodge an official objection.

"This is how the process works," Hertz said. "We own a trademark. They have applied for a trademark. We think their proposed trademark is too close to our registered and common law trademarks. They disagree. We hope to work out a sensible compromise that will allow both parties to move forward without unnecessary acrimony."

UPDATE: Pharrell's attorney, Brad Rose, has issued a statement in response to Hertz's claim. "The statements made by Will and his advisors over the past two days amount to revisionist history in the face of the public condemnation against Will that has resulted after this story broke yesterday," says Rose. "The plain truth is that Will has obstructed every overture made by Pharrell to amicably resolve this matter and has steadfastly refused to engage in a dialogue. Will and his trademark counsel have instituted no less than eight cases against Pharrell in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and have also threatened on more than one occasion to sue Pharrell for trademark infringement in Federal District Court for damages and an injunction. All of this because Will misguidedly believes that he has the sole right to the words I AM in commerce, notwithstanding the myriad of I Am compound trademarks that coexist on the trademark register and in the marketplace."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com