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Will.i.am counter sues in I Am dispute

By | Published on Monday 23 September 2013

Will.i.am

Will.i.am has filed a countersuit against Pharrell Williams¬†in the ongoing dispute over who has the right to say “I am”.

As previously reported, legal reps for the two stars started firing pot-shots back in June when reports first circulated that Will.i.am was planning to sue Williams over his plan to register various trademarks around his I Am Other brand, which the Black Eyed Pea reckoned would conflict with his I Am fashion line.

It turned out that Team Will.i.am hadn’t actually sued, but had filed an objection with the US trademark registry. But then Williams’ lawyers did sue, seeking court confirmation that the producer’s I Am Other activities did not infringe any of Will.i.am’s IP rights. The Black Eyed Pea’s new countersuit responds to that.

Most notable in the countersuit is a section that lists some of William’s past alleged IP run-ins, an attempt to seemingly portray Pharrell as someone with little respect for other people’s trademarks or copyrights. Which you might say is a little pot and kettle, given the various copyright claims against Will.i.am’s work over the years, but there you go.

Included in this list is William’s label being called Star Track (a rip off of ‘Star Trek’, Will.i.am says), and his use of the Pink Slime mark (very close to Mattel’s Slime trademark). It then goes on to note the previously reported claims being made by two parties against Robin Thicke’s ode to rape ‘Blurred Lines’, which Pharrell co-wrote, produced and guests on.

There are two plagiarism claims in relation to ‘Blurred Lines’, one with the estate of Marvin Gaye and the other with Bridgeport Music in relation to a track it owns by George Clinton and Funkadelic. Though Clinton himself has criticised Bridgeport’s claim over ‘Blurred Lines’, unlike when Will.i.am lifted his track ‘(Not Just) Knee Deep’ for Black Eyed Peas release ‘Shut Up’. As Billboard notes, that time Clinton himself sued, though the case was settled last year.

If this one ever gets to court, it could be fun.



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