Another dramatic hip-hop feud is bubbling, and fortunately it's only in the courtroom. Black Eyed Peas leader Will.i.am filed a lawsuit against N.E.R.D. frontman Pharrell Williams for potential copyright infringement.
Will.i.am's suit alleges that the new brand launched by Williams, i am OTHER, is a little too similar to the Black Eyed guy's I Am marketing. Also, he alleges that the logos of the respective brands are "confusingly similar."
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First, the logos. Will.i.am's symbol is an adjustment of the power symbol seen everyday on electronics the world over. Rather than a circle surrounding a short vertical line, i.am's features a curvy "W" surrounding the vertical line. Admittedly clever. Williams's logo is a pyramid made out of the words "i am OTHER." On one hand, a logo based entirely on circles. The other, triangles. They aren't even geometrically similar, much less similar in terms of the images presented. Will.i.am's legal team is not convinced.
"The registration of the mark . . . is likely to dilute the I AM mark and the WILL.I.AM mark," the court documents allege.
Furthermore, the rapper/producer says that he owns the copyright to the phrase "I AM," although he didn't indicate whether it had to be capitalized to count. Apparently not however, as Williams was very careful to leave his "i am" lowercased. Now readers know why Paula Deen said "I is what I is" during the "Today" show: She doesn't want to be sued by Will.i.am.
Williams made a statement expressing his disappointment in the lawsuit, and opposed its charges.
"I am disappointed that Will, a fellow artist, would file a case against me," he said. "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."