Dr Dre, famed recorder producer and the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and music Mogul Jimmy Iovine have been ordered to pay $25.2 million to a former partner in their headphone company Beats.
Steven Lamar, who was a former associate of Dre and Iovine with Beats claimed credit for the idea of creating a celebrity, branded endorsed headphones. In 2006, Lamar claimed that he took the idea to Dre and Iovine and the first Beats headphones were released two years later, based on a design by Robert Brunner. Eventually there was a falling out and in 2007, there was a settlement in which Dre and Iovine agreed to pay Lamar 4% of the base price of every headphone sold.
Dre and Iovine claimed that only one model, Beats Studios was claimed by Lamar, but Lamar argued that the design had been carried over to a dozen different models, and sought $130 million in royalties. And recently, a jury in Los Angeles decided in Lamar’s favour in deciding that three pairs of headphones – the Studio 2 Remastered, the Studio 2 Wireless and the Studio 3 – had design similarities.
Lamar’s lawyer Brian Melton said about the judges decision, “For everybody who has a great idea and brings it to a company and then doesn’t get the recognition or credit that they’re due… what this jury verdict says is, if that happens to you and you’re a little person, you can go into court and have a jury of American citizens determine whether you’re right or wrong… and if you’re right, you get the credit you’re owned.”
Beats, which later became a music streaming service as well as a headphone company, was acquired by Apple Music in a $3 billion deal in 2014.