A Court Battle Over Trademark Registration

Producers Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes are embroiled in a heated court battle over using their famous production name. 

Hugo has sued his partner for allegedly trying to register trademarks for the “Neptunes” name without including Hugo. This move apparently violates the established 50/50 agreement that the hitmakers have long maintained. 

“Throughout their over thirty-year history, [Hugo] and Williams agreed to, and in fact, have divided all assets. By ignoring and excluding [Hugo] from the any and all applications filed by applicant for the mark ‘The Neptunes,’ applicant has committed fraud in securing the trademarks and acted in bad faith,” Hugo’s attorney, Kenneth D. Freundlich, wrote in the federal filing, obtained by Billboard

Williams attempted to clear his name on Monday, sharing with the outlet via his representative that the point of the filing was to protect the brand, not exclude Hugo. As the “Frontin” performer explained, he wanted to ensure no other entity tried to file a trademark using their name. Hugo doesn’t believe Williams is being truthful due to the fact that their jointly owned Neptunes, LLC was not listed on the trademark application. 

Williams is being accused of filing three trademark applications using “The Neptunes.” All three were filed by Williams company PW IP Holdings LLC, with one for music streaming, another for music videos and related content, and a third for live performances. The applications were filed in 2022, and Williams claims he has tried to reach out to Hugo for quite some time to resolve the matter. 

This incident has ironically caused Kelis to trend on Twitter. She long accused Williams and Hugo of stealing all profits from her first two albums in the early 2000s, “Kaleidoscope” and “Wanderland.” Kelis previously stated that she signed a deal with them while she was young and did not fully understand it. Fast forward to March 2024, and some fans believe the drama between Hugo and Williams is nothing more than karma for how the singer was treated during her music career. 

 

 

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