Business News Legal may not be suing Williams, but Williams is now suing

By | Published on Tuesday 2 July 2013

Pharrell Williams

If you’ve spent the last few days wondering all the way to high heaven how the devil it could possibly be that that nice, reliable, honest chap could insist on the micro-blogging network that the kids call Twitter that “I am not suing Pharrell and I never was”, while at the very same time cool cat Pharrell himself was being quoted expressing abject disappointment that “a fellow artist would file a case against me”, well fear not, I think I’ve solved the paradox. And, good sir, it’s old fashioned legal technicalities causing the confusion.

As you may recall, it was Rolling Stone that first reported that was taking legal action against Pharrell Williams in a trademark dispute over that unusual lexical construct “I Am”. Williams was trying to register various trademarks around the ‘I Am Other’ brand he launched a year ago, but had decided that would cause confusion with and dilute the value of his trademarked I Am clothing brand.

Though, after Pharrell hit out at the Black Eyed Pea and Voice judge, adding that “I am someone who likes to talk things out” and “I am surprised in how this is being handled”, took to the tweets to insist he wasn’t suing a fellow star, and was far too busy on this charity projects to be worrying about trademarks.

But, it seems,’s lawyers are worrying themselves about Pharrell’s allegedly conflicting trademark applications. However – and here’s the key point – they have let their objections be known through the standard channels, filing an opposition to Pharrell’s trademark application via the standard mark registration process. Which isn’t anything like as dramatic as the one star “suing” the other, though Rolling Stone’s more abstract “legal action” still stands.

And,’s legal rep Ken Hertz has told Billboard, his team were forced to file their opposition papers because if you have a problem with a new trademark application you must register it within six months, and that deadline was running out. Had it not been for that deadline, Team would have been happy to continue “talking things out”, as Pharrell put it, but with said talking yet to reach a resolution the Black Eyed Pea’s attorneys had to cover their backs by filing the formal opposition.

Though there too there is disagreement between the two camps, with legal reps for Williams claiming that’s team have, in fact, made no effort to connect on this issue, and instead have “obstructed at every overture”. So much so, while the team may not be suing Williams, Williams is now suing, his team filing legal papers yesterday in which they ask a New York court to rule that his use of I Am Other, specifically on his YouTube channel, does not infringe any of’s trademarks.

This one is going to be fun.