Pharrell Williams Sues Will.i.am over Use of “I AM” Trademark

And I thought the trademark “I am” was owned by Popeye with his famous catchphrase “I am, what I am.”  Now, two heavyweights in music are fighting it out over the simple phrase, “I Am”.
For the past couple of months, rumor has been going around that will.i.am, best known as a member of the Black Eyed Peas, is after Pharrell Williams over his use of the trademark “i am OTHER” thinking that Pharrell’s new brand is confusingly similar to will.i.am’s “I AM” trademark. With each releasing contradictory statements about whether there was in fact a lawsuit filed, nobody knew who to believe.
On Monday, July 1, 2013, to settle this case once and for all, Pharrell went on the offensive and preemptively filed suit seeking a declaration of the court that his mark, “i am OTHER” does not infringe on will.i.am’s “I AM”.  According to the lawsuit, will.i.am sent Pharrell two cease and desist letters back in December demanding that he stop using “i am OTHER” and subsequently filed an opposition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in an effort to prevent Pharrell’s trademark registration from being granted.
Pharrell asserts that their marks are distinguishable and that confusion will not ensue as a result of simultaneous use. Further, Pharrell points out that any rights will.i.am has in “I AM” are weak considering the large number of other trademark registrations and widespread use of those two words, particularly in the music industry.
The determination as to whether the marks are confusing will be left to the court, unless these two can hash out their problems and reach a settlement.