50 Cent to pay more than £9m for copying headphone design

Headphone manufacturer Sleek won a case against the rapper

50 Cent has been ordered to pay just over $16m (£9.6m) to a headphones manufacturer.

Radar Online reports that 50 Cent was taken to court by Sleek Audio, which claimed he had stolen its design. The company sued the rapper for misappropriating trade secrets, breaching his fiduciary duty owed to Sleek, participating in a civil conspiracy, breaching his confidentiality agreement with Sleek and being unjustly enriched.

50 Cent – real name Curtis Jackson – reportedly invested more than $1 million in Sleek to start a line of headphones for him, but instead produced a different set of headphones with a different company. According to court documents, Sleek claims the resulting headphones, named Sync By 50, were “basically the same design, mechanically”. They said Jackson had used knowledge of the design to produce a similar model.

Additionally, Sleek claim that Jackson and his team stole 3,639 potential customers’ email addresses and other data from a website developed to promote the headphones before production. The court papers record that when Sleek emailed Jackson’s team about the breach, his personal business manager wrote, “[Sleek] is onto us, LOL. They emailed and called … about the data.”

An arbitrator to the case sided with Sleek, ordering the rapper to pay $11,693,247 in damages plus attorney’s fees, last May, but Jackson has been battling against the fees. This week’s final agreement awarded Sleek $4,488,331 (approximately £2.7m) in attorneys’ fees, bringing the grand total of their payout to $16,181578 (approximately £9.6m).