Steven Lamar has filed a lawsuit against Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.
Steven Lamar is a former hedge-fund manager and the founder of a company called Jive Audio. He is also called the "father of Beats headphones."
Mike Klasco, an audio consultant who worked on the original Beats headphone, told Bloomberg today that Lamar is the real father of Beats headphones.
Amidst the growing rumors surrounding Apple's $3.2 billion deal with Beats Electronics, Lamar is filing a lawsuit against Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre, ex-Apple designer Robert Brunner, and others, for breach of contract and bad faith.
According to Hollywood Reporter, Lamar came up with the idea to create a premium set of headphones. He then approached Iovine, who recruited Dr. Dre to become the brand's endorser.
Unfortunately, the partnership didn't work. Instead of signing a retail deal with Apple, Beats picked Monster LLC to be its distribution partner. Under the terms, Iovine and Dre were to receive 20 percent royalty on sales, while Lamar only got 5 percent.
Perhaps unhappy with the cut, Lamar reportedly tried to approach the design firm Pentagram to create a similar headphone. Hearing this, Iovine and Dre filed a $1 million lawsuit against Lamar and Pentagram.
It was settled a year later, with Iovine and Dr. Dre agreeing to pay Pentagram a 4 percent royalty. The latter then agreed to turn over the half of the payments to Lamar.
Fast-forward today, Lamar is complaining that the Beats co-founders are not paying enough royalties. This will be a complex case since the agreement did not indicate if the royalties will still apply to newer versions of the headphones.
You can read the complaint here.