Celebrity endorsers Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre have been ordered by a jury within Los Angeles Superior Court to fork over $25.2M worth of royalty funds to Steven Lamar. Lamar sought $130M in damages due to breach of contract between Dre, Iovine Jibe Audio and design firm, Pentagram. As the story goes, Lamar and his firm originally introduced the initial design and branding concept of “celebrity endorsed” headphones.
This agreement took place in 2007 and each Dre + Iovine acknowledged the original agreement. After their business relationship soured, a settlement/mutual release agreement was reached between the parties. In court, the case was originally dismissed as of 2014. In 2016, the case became revived through the appeals process. The contention at hand was between which models that Lamar was owed payment for. Iovine and Dre claimed he only earned a stake in the original Studio model. As of 06/27, the LA SC found that Lamar deserves credit for the original Studio Model as well as the Studio 2 Remastered, Studio 2 Wireless, and the Studio 3 headphones.
The plaintiff argued that the design carried over to other models and the jury agreed, deciding on Wednesday that the original headphone’s characteristics had been used on later models with “minor cosmetic changes” and that Dre and Iovine should pay $25,247,350 in royalties on the Studio 2 Remastered, the Studio 2 Wireless and the Studio 3 models.
Steven Lamar came out on top and another shady business operation has been exposed. Chalk this one up as a win for the originators.
Footnote: Since the merger of Apple and Beats by Dre the two powerhouse tech companies have yet to release any new products.