Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo in legal dispute over “Neptunes” name rights

Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo in legal dispute over “Neptunes” name rights

Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo are currently in a legal dispute over The Neptunes name.

According to a filing obtained by Billboard, Hugo is accusing Williams of trying to obtain sole rights to the legendary songwriting and production duo’s name.

“Throughout their over thirty year history, [Hugo] and Williams agreed to, and in fact, have divided all assets,” Hugo’s attorney, Kenneth D. Freundlich alleged in documents submitted to a federal tribunal.

Freundlich said that Williams’ holdings company, PW IP Holdings, submitted three separate applications to trademark “The Neptunes” name in 2022. Williams is accused of having “knowingly and intentionally” applied without Hugo’s input, despite not having “unilateral authority to register the trademarks.”

“By ignoring and excluding [Hugo] from any and all applications filed by applicant for the mark ‘The Neptunes,’” the filing said Williams “has committed fraud in securing the trademarks and acted in bad faith.”

Hugo’s lawyer also said that Williams and his team had been contacted “repeatedly” about the issue, during which they “admitted that [Hugo] is equal co-owner of the trademarks.” However, Hugo claimed that Williams did not fulfill his promise of splitting the trademark due to unspecified business terms, which would cut Hugo out of equal control and compensation.

During the aughts, Williams and Hugo solidified themselves as one of the music industry’s most sought-after producers, producing hit singles like Snoop Dogg‘s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and Gwen Stefani‘s “Hollaback Girl.”

The FADER has yet to hear back from Freundlich’s office on behalf of Hugo. Meanwhile, representatives for Williams said that he was “surprised” by the filing.

“We have reached out on multiple occasions to share in the ownership and administration of the trademark and will continue to make that offer,” they continued. “The goal here was to make sure a third party doesn’t get a hold of the trademark and to guarantee Chad and Pharrell share in ownership and administration.”

Read Billboard‘s entire report on The Neptunes dispute here.