Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s case against Marvin Gaye’s family will now go to trial.
The musicians have been embroiled in legal proceedings for more than a year after Thicke, Williams and Clifford Harris Jr., better known as T.I., who raps on the track, sought in August 2013 to preemptively protect the song from claims it originated from the Motown legend’s 1977 smash hit Got to Give It Up.
The Gaye family responded with a countersuit, accusing Thicke and Williams of stealing elements for Blurred Lines. They also allege Thicke ripped off Gaye’s After the Dance for his song Love After War.
On Thursday U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt denied Williams and Thicke’s motion for a summary judgement, ruling the issue must now go to trial, Billboard reports.
In his ruling, the magistrate wrote members of the Gaye family “have made a sufficient showing that elements of Blurred Lines may be substantially similar to protected, original elements of Got to Give It Up,” adding, “Defendants have identified these with particularity for purposes of analytic dissection."
Kronstadt also cited “conflicting analyses” on “signature phrases, hooks, bass lines, keyboard chords, harmonic structures and vocal melodies” by experts hired by both the plaintiffs and the defendants.
Jury analysis will be limited to sheet music compositions.
The judge also touched on comments made by Thicke in an April deposition obtained by The Hollywood Reporter in which he claimed his previous remarks to the media about his contribution to Blurred Lines were embellished because he “had a drug and alcohol problem for the year" and "didn't do a sober interview”.
According to the judge, “Thicke’s inconsistent statements do not constitute direct evidence of copying,” although “concede access” of Got to Give It Up on the singer’s part is noted, Billboard reports.
The trial is scheduled to begin February 10.