Pharrell Williams & Chad Hugo Battle Over Neptunes Trademark

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N*E*R*D - Gig And Party
LONDON - NOVEMBER 22: Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams attend the aftershow party following the final gig this year by N*E*R*D, at Sketch November 22, 2004 in London. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)

The Neptunes are currently at odds.

Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo are engaged in a legal dispute over the trademark for their group name, Neptunes. Hugo claims Pharrell is “fraudulently” seeking sole control over the name, which would violate a longstanding agreement between the two to split everything evenly. He says Pharrell filed to register trademarks for the Neptunes name without his permission.

Hugo’s attorney, Kenneth D. Freundlich, wrote in a legal filing: “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.”

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Pharrell Williams & Chad Hugo Pose Backstage At Songwriters Hall Of Fame

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 16: Inductees Pharrell Williams and Chad. Hugo of The Neptunes pose backstage at the Songwriters. Hall of Fame 51st Annual Induction and Awards Gala at Marriott Marquis on June 16, 2022 in New. York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall of Fame)

A representative for Pharrell responded to the situation in a statement to Billboard on Monday. They argued he only did so to protect the name from third parties. “Pharrell is surprised by this," they wrote. "We have reached out on multiple occasions to share in the ownership and administration of the trademark and will continue to make that offer. 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.”

Pharrell's company, PW IP Holdings LLC, filed three separate applications to register “The Neptunes” as a trademark back in 2022. They cover the use of the name on streaming music, in music videos, and for live performances. Hugo's team says they’ve “repeatedly” contacted Pharrell’s team about the problem and argue he “knowingly and intentionally” filed the applications without required input from their client. Be on the lookout for further updates on Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo on HotNewHipHop.

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About The Author
Cole Blake is currently an Editor at HotNewHipHop based out of Brooklyn, New York. He began working at the site as an intern back in 2018 while studying journalism at St. John’s University. In the time since, he’s graduated with a bachelor's degree and written extensively about a wide range of topics including pop culture, film & television, politics, video games, sports, and much more. He’s also covered music festivals such as Gov. Ball and Rolling Loud. You can find him publishing work for HNHH from Monday to Wednesday or on weekends. On the sports front, Cole’s a passionate NBA and NFL fan with his favorite teams being the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Lakers. He also roots for the Yankees whenever he finds himself at Yankee Stadium or the Red Storm when in the company of other SJU alumni. His favorite hip-hop artists are billy woods, Earl Sweatshirt, Cam’ron, MIKE, and Mach-Hommy.