A legal dispute has erupted between Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams, the renowned duo behind The Neptunes, over the ownership of their trademark. The conflict stems from Hugo’s accusations against Pharrell of attempting to gain complete control of their duo’s trademarks despite an alleged agreement to share everything equally.


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According to a report by Billboard, Hugo’s legal team has raised concerns over Pharrell’s company, PW IP Holdings LLC, filing three applications to register “The Neptunes” as a trademark. Hugo’s lawyer, Kenneth D. Freundlich, highlighted in a legal filing that, throughout their 30-year history, both Hugo and Williams had agreed to divide all assets equally. Freundlich further alleged that Pharrell’s actions in excluding Hugo from the trademark applications amounted to fraud and bad faith.

Pharrell’s team, however, has refuted these claims, stating that they had reached out multiple times to involve Hugo in the ownership and administration of the trademark. Pharrell’s representative expressed surprise at the accusations and reiterated their willingness to ensure that both Pharrell and Hugo share ownership and administration of the trademark.

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While attorneys for Pharrell acknowledged that Hugo co-owns The Neptunes name, Hugo’s lawyers argued that Pharrell’s company had attempted to impose burdensome business terms on Hugo regarding the trademarks. The specifics of these terms were not disclosed in Hugo’s filing.

It was revealed that Pharrell’s company had previously trademarked The Neptunes for musical sound recordings, with an application pending for clothing and merchandise. Hugo’s legal team hinted at possibly taking further legal action to void these trademarks.

The Neptunes, known for producing hits for artists spanning various genres, have left an indelible mark on the music industry. Their contributions have been widely celebrated, from working with the likes of Clipse and Snoop Dogg to Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. Pharrell and Hugo were honored with induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

As the legal battle ensues, the future ownership and administration of the Neptunes trademark remain uncertain.