Chad Hugo is accusing Pharrell Williams of fraudulently trying to gain full control over The Neptunes trademarks.

Chad Hugo Makes Major Accusation Against Pharrell

On Monday (April 1), Billboard reported that Chad Hugo filed legal action against Pharrell last week at a federal tribunal. Hugo accused Pharrell of trying to fraudulently secure the trademarks for The Neptunes name. Hugo said this violated a longstanding agreement between the pair that they'd split everything evenly.

"Throughout their over thirty year history, [Hugo] and Williams agreed to, and in fact, have divided all assets," Hugo’s attorney Kenneth D. Freundlich wrote in the suit. "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."

A representative for Pharrell referred XXL to a statement shared with Billboard, in which his team said the trademark filing came as a shock.

"Pharrell is surprised by this. 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 rep said. "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."

In the legal filings, Hugo's attorneys argued Pharrell "knowingly and intentionally" moved forward with trademark applications without seeking out Hugo's permission. According to Hugo's attorney, the pair's partnership entity should have been listed as a co-owner: "Nothing, either written or oral, provided Williams or [PW IP Holdings] with the unilateral authority to register the trademarks."

Hugo also reportedly reached out to Pharrell's attorneys multiple times, to which they agreed to include him in the trademarks. Hugo's lawyer claimed that never actually happened, partly because Pharrell insisted on "onerous business terms," according to the suit.

There are three separate applications to register "The Neptunes" as a trademark that Hugo is disputing: use of the name on streaming music, for music videos and other content, and covering live performances. Pharrell's company, PW IP Holdings LLC, filed the documents.

XXL has reached out to Chad Hugo's team for further comment.

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