‘I Am’ Battle Continues: Will.i.am and Pharrell’s Lawyers Fire Shots
Will.i.am's lawyer isn't wrong, he's just Will.i.am's lawyer
Will.i.am and Pharrell Willliams continue to give trademark lawyers rare opportunities to be quoted in Rolling Stone. In case you aren’t a trademark lawyer or a Black Eyed Peas stan, it was reported last week that Will.i.am has filed a legal claim challenging Pharrell’s “i am OTHER” brand on the grounds that it’s too similar to Will.i.am’s “I AM.” Now, a lawyer for Will.i.am has issued a statement that, while at least partly accurate, is utterly irrelevant to the next-level ridiculousness of Will.i.am filing a legal claim against Pharrell over the words “I am.”
Will.i.am’s lawyer, Ken Hertz, gave a statement to RS explaining that his client didn’t sue Pharrell at all. As we previously explained, Will.i.am filed a notice of opposition, a type of filing that can routinely be made to challenge attempts to register a patent or trademark. We’ll let the lawyer explain: “This is how the process works,” Hertz is quoted as saying. “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.” Hertz also said the two sides’ lawyers have been in touch for about a year and the recent legal action came about as a result of government-required deadlines.
Yeah, but what about those of us laypeople who still think it’s inherently hilarious for Will.i.am to sue Pharrell Williams over three letters and a space? Does Will.i.am also claim copyright on the Hebrew name of God, which translates as “I Am That I Am”? While we’re at it, why not Kanye West’s Yeezus screamer “I Am a God”? And isn’t it simply a bad look for one super-producer to remind people to compare his own work with that of a more adventurous super-producer with a slightly similar legal name?
Pharrell’s lawyer, Brad Rose, also gave RS a statement, which essentially says, “Nuh uh!” Behold, if you can read it without your eyeballs glazing over, the voice of I Am Other: “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.”
Now let’s go back to discussing how Robin Thicke and Pharrell’s Marvin Gaye-biting “Blurred Lines” is clearly better than Daft Punk and Pharrell’s Chic-co-opting “Get Lucky” — and for that matter, any recent Will.i.am hit.