Round three in the bizarre legal tussle between Pharrell and Will.i.am: Will.i.am has now reportedly aimed a countersuit at Pharrell, following the Neptunes producer’s July lawsuit against the Black Eyed Pea.
Details emerged this June about legal action taken by Will.i.am against Pharrell over the use of the phrase “I Am”. Pharrell’s creative brand is named “i am OTHER”, which Will.i.am claims is “confusingly similar” to his ‘I Am’ brand (his issue is mostly over the fact that I Am Other would be featured on a number of goods that he had already placed his “I Am” logo on).
Pharrell swiftly spoke to Rolling Stone about the issue, saying ”I am disappointed that Will, a fellow artist, would file a case against me. 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.” Will.i.am then claimed on Twitter that he was “not suing Pharrell and he never was”.
In July, Pharrell issued Will.i.am with a lawsuit of his own. TMZ reported that the producer requested written permission from a judge to continue using “i am OTHER”, claiming that his usage of the phrase “I Am” is substantially different to that used by will.i.am. Incredibly, the document invoked writer Dr. Seuss, claiming that will.i.am’s usage is a deliberate echo of Green Eggs And Ham character Sam I Am. More on that here.
This weekend, TMZ claims to have obtained new legal documents showing a countersuit by Will.i.am, claiming that Pharrell has a history of copying the ideas of others. It reportedly used the current ‘Blurred Lines’ case and the name of Pharrell’s record label Star Trak as examples, as well as, bizarrely (let’s face it though, the whole thing is bizarre at this point) a claim that Pharrell also tried to register the trademark Pink Slime – which Will.i.am’s team say is similar to Slime, owned by Mattel.
Given Will.i.am’s own history of copying ideas (see recent track ‘Let’s Go’), that last paragraph seems more than a little rich.