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.
"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."Will.i.am Denies Suing Pharrell Over Copyright Claim
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