Descartes wept – the existential tussle of the century continues to rumble on.
Last week, it was reported that quondam Black Eyed Pea will.i.am had instigated legal action against guest star du jour Pharrell Williams. The bone of contention? will.i.am claimed that Pharrell’s new creative brand ‘i am OTHER’ contravened his ownership of the “i am” trademark. That’s right: will.i.am was claiming legal ownership over the phrase “I am”.
In the aftermath of will.i.am’s application, Pharrell was less than happy, claiming to be “surprised in how this is being handled” and “confident that Will’s trademark claims will ultimately be found to be as meritless and ridiculous as I do.” will.i.am subsequently claimed,“i.am not suing @Pharrell & I NEVER WAS..”, which, whilst technically correct – his submission was a notice of opposition rather than a lawsuit – didn’t really shed much extra light on the affair.
Pharrell, in an attempt to prevent will.i.am beginning legal proceedings against him, has now issued his rival with a lawsuit of his own. TMZ report that the one-time Neptune has requested written permission from a judge to continue using his ‘i am OTHER’ trademark. Pharrell’s lawsuit claims that his usage of the phrase “I Am” is substantially different to that used by will.i.am. Bizarrely, the document invokes Dr. Seuss, claiming that will.i.am’s usage is a deliberate echo of Green Eggs And Ham character Sam I Am. Yes, Pharrell’s lawsuit actually contains the following explanatory stanza:
Sam I am
I am Sam
I am Sam
Sam I am
Pharrell stresses that his use of the phrase serves an entirely different function:
In contrast, the I Am Other mark means ‘I am something else,’ leaving what that ‘else’ is to the imagination of the consumer. It certainly does not mean ‘I am Will.’