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Pharrell And Chad Hugo Battle Over “Neptunes” Name; Who Really Owns It?

BY Abena Dzaka April 2, 2024 11:06 PM EDT
Photo Credit: Facebook @ Pharrell Willams and @Chad Hugo

According to reports, Chad Hugo has charged Pharrell Williams with trying to take over the ‘Neptunes’ name by staking out exclusive ownership of new trademarks.

Per recent court documents, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, who are both from Virginia Beach, have been co-owners of The Neptunes for over thirty years and have equally divided the company’s assets. The two formed a well-known songwriting and producing duo together.

According to the filing, this included all advances, fees, and royalties paid to The Neptunes, as well as the company’s agreements, publishing rights, and intellectual property rights.

Williams’ attorneys responded by telling Pitchfork and Billboard that they had attempted to present Hugo with a joint ownership offer.

Hugo, on the other hand, has attempted to formally establish that co-ownership, but according to his attorneys, Williams and his businesses have insisted on “onerous business terms” that would restrict Hugo’s earning potential and level of control.

As the Neptunes, Hugo and Williams compiled an impressive discography in the late 1990s and early 2000s, creating a highly influential pop/R&B hybrid on hits like U Don’t Have to Call by Usher, Hot in Here by Nelly, Caught Out There and Milkshake by Kelis, Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani, and the majority of Justin Timberlake’s Justified project

The rap-rock group N.E.R.D., featuring Shay Haley, Hugo, and Williams, credits The Neptunes as producers.