Turns out not just anyone can use the phrase “I am,” according to former Black eyed Peas singer, Will.i.am.
Will.i.am has owned the “I AM” trademark since 2001 and uses it for his clothing, jewelry, luggage and other businesses, as well as his charity foundation I AM ANGEL.
So when singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams recently launched his YouTube channel “I Am Other,” Will.i.am was not happy, calling it “confusingly similar.”
Will.i.am subsequently issued a cease and desist informing Pharrell that he owned the rights to the ‘I Am’ element and to stop using the name.
Pharrell responded by filing a lawsuit seeking to block Will.i.am’s efforts, according to TMZ, and argues in his lawsuit that each artist was using “I Am” in different ways.
Pharrell is claiming that Will.i.am has been using the words in a Dr. Seuss-inspired way, like “Sam I am; I am Sam; I am Sam; Sam I am.”
“In contrast, the ‘I Am Other’ mark means ‘I am something else,'” argues Pharrell in his suit, “leaving what that ‘else’ is to the imagination of the consumer. It certainly does not mean ‘I am Will.'”
Pharrell is asking a judge for written permission to continue using the “I Am Other” mark.
“I am disappointed that Will, a fellow artist, would file a case against me,” Pharrell said in a statement to 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.”
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