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Pharrell and Chad Hugo in legal battle over ‘Neptunes’ brand

Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo launched their songwriting and production duo project, The Neptunes, in 1992.

Pharrell and Chad Hugo in legal battle over ‘Neptunes’ brand

Chad Hugo accused his longtime friend and business partner Pharrell Williams of “fraud” in attempting to gain exclusive control over the trademarks associated with his 1992 production and songwriting project “Neptunes”. Hugo’s attorney filed a legal action in federal court accusing Pharrell and his company, PW IP Holdings LLC, of attempting to register three separate trademarks for the Neptunes without involving Hugo, an alleged violation of the duo’s agreement to share everything equally.

“Throughout their thirty-plus year history, [Hugo] and Williams agreed and have, in fact, divided all assets,” the filing stated. “By ignoring and excluding [Hugo] from each and every application filed by the applicant for ‘The Neptunes’ trademark, the applicant has committed fraud in obtaining the trademarks and acted in bad faith.”

The trademarks were filed without Hugo’s knowledge. Hugo’s lawyers are arguing that Williams’ company has recognised Hugo as the co-owner of the trademarks, but insists that the producer comply with “onerous commercial terms” that would apparently affect his rights to the name and potentially his compensation for future uses.

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