The short story goes, Pharrell Williams filed a lawsuit on Monday asking a U.S. court to rule that he has not violated any trademark that Will.i.am owns for the phrase “I AM.”
Yes, you read that correctly.
Apparently, as Pharrell’s suit states, he has received numerous cease-and-desist letters from attorney’s representing Will.i.am, whose real name is William Adams, demanding that he (Pharrell) stop using versions of the phrase “I AM” in his (Pharrell’s) iamother.com online media site.
The content of Will.i.am’s cease-and-desist letters from his attorneys to Pharrell, argue that, while there might be others who use “I Am,” Will.i.am is famous, has invested in a “family” of trademarks (like the I Am Scholarship, I Am Home, and I Am Angel), and has also collaborated in music with Pharrell Williams in the past, which might lead consumers to think that Pharrell’s iamother.com (owned by I Am Other Entertainment), represents another collaboration between both gentlemen, which isn’t the case.
In response to that, Pharrell’s suit states:
“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’ or in any way suggest Defendants or the WILL.I.AM mark. The inclusion of the respective terms ‘WILL’ and ‘OTHER,’ as well as the location of ‘I AM’ in each mark, evoke considerable different commercial impressions making consumer confusion unlikely.”
Further, the lawsuit claimed that Will.i.am’s trademark for “I AM” covers clothing specifically and is “relatively weak” because similar trademarks already exist.
The lawsuit asked the court to declare that the phrase “I Am Other” does not “infringe, dilute or unfairly compete” with Will.i.am.
Who’ll win this fight? I dunno.
I know that I now have a headache, so let me go sit down and have a glass of water. You guys can sort it all out below if you want. You can also read the suit Pharrell filed HERE.