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Pharrell Williams and will.i.am are suing each other over who owns the phrase "I am"

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Pharrell Williams and Black Eyed Pea will.i.am have instigated legal action against each other over who has the right to use the phrase “I am.” Last week, will.i.am’s legal team filed a notice of opposition against Williams’ company, i am OTHER, claiming that he had legal ownership of “i am,” and ignoring millennia of basic linguistics that suggest otherwise. Williams, in turn, sued will.i.am back this week, claiming that his use of the “to be” conjugation in his company’s name is markedly different than will.i.am’s use of it in his actual name.

Williams’ suit even invokes some Dr. Seuss, as he’s alleging that will.i.am’s moniker is a direct rip-off from a previous “I am” claimant, Green Eggs And Ham’s Sam I Am. In contrast, Williams claims that his use of “I Am Other” “means ‘I am something else,’" leaving what that "else" is to the imagination of the consumer. It certainly does not mean ‘I am Will.’” It probably does mean he’s better at filing and winning stupid lawsuits than the guy from Black Eyed Peas.


So far, there's no comment from Sean Penn, star of the 2001 film I Am Sam, or Will Smith, star of 2007's I Am Legend.