Jay-Z won $4.5 million in royalties Thursday (Feb. 24) from a fragrance company called Parlux that sued the rapper after their cologne endorsement deal went south.
Three months after a Manhattan jury cleared the superstar of wrongdoing and potentially $67 million in damages, a New York state appeals court went even further, ruling that it was Parlux that must pay up. The court said the fragrance brand owed past royalties, plus interest, for sales of the product made after the deal soured.
“The record is clear: Parlux sold licensed products after July 31, 2015, but failed to pay royalties on those sales,” wrote Justice John Higgitt of the New York Appellate Division.
The ruling came after more than six years of litigation over “Gold Jay-Z,” a cologne brand that the superstar, whose real name is Shawn Carter, launched in 2013 through a partnership with Parlux.
In its lawsuit, the company accused the rapper and his S. Carter Enterprises of failing to properly promote the brand, breaching his contract and dooming the product to failure. Jay-Z quickly countersued, claiming he had fulfilled his obligations despite numerous missteps from Parlux – and that the company still owed him money.
A three week trial was held last fall, featuring heated testimony from the star himself, during which he verbally sparred with opposing attorneys and even threatened to file a new countersuit. Eventually, jurors largely sided with Hov, finding that Parlux was entitled to nothing.
Confusingly, Thursday’s ruling was not based on an appeal from that verdict. Instead, both sides had lodged appeals earlier in the litigation, challenging intermediate rulings issued by the judge overseeing the case. The new decision mostly rejected those challenges, but held that Jay-Z was “correct” when he claimed he was owed $4.5 million in royalties for the period after July 31, 2015.
An appeal of the verdict could still be coming. The case remains in the trial court, where Parlux is asking the judge to set aside the verdict and order a new trial. Once the judge rules on those motions, the case could head back to an appeals court.
Jay-Z’s attorney, Alex Spiro of the law firm Quinn Emmanuel, declined to comment on the decision. Parlux’s lawyer, Anthony J. Viola of the firm Mintz Levin, did not return a request for comment on Thursday evening.