The sweet smell of success for Revelation as Prince sniffs at damages award

October 2011

Artists, Merchandise

In November 2008 diminutive poster Prince was the subject of a lawsuit from Revelations Perfume and Cosmetics Inc. who took action against the singer and Universal Music Publishing Group for damages, claiming they failed to help push a fragrance inspired by his 2006 album 3121. They were seeking damages of $100,000. Prince did not file a defence to the claim and Prince’s then lawyer withdrew,saying his firm has not been paid ‘for months’ and that Prince has dialed ti compy with discovery obligations.

The Referee conducting an investigation into damages, Louis Crespo, has now awarded the perfume company $3.9 million to cover the expenditures it had made in reliance on Prince’s commitment to promote the perfume, 3121. Mr. Crespo, however, rejected Revelations’ claim for an additional $3.4 million in lost profits, finding they were too “speculative.” He also denied Revelations’ assertion that it was entitled to punitive damages. Revelations’ lawyer said he will ask Manhattan Acting Supreme Court Justice Bernard J. Fried to confirm the referee’s award next week. Prince’s attorney has said they will oppose this.

The licensing agreement was signed on Dec 2nd 2006, according to the complaint, but immediately the complaint says that Prince started backtracking saying that he refused to give interviews in connection with the projected, which was launch on July 7, 2007, including an Oprah interview and failed to provide a current photo of himself for a press release despite being personally involved in selecting the perfumes for the scent.  Revelations spent over $2.5 million for licensing privileges and agreed to give Universal a 50 percent cut of the proceeds. In return, Prince was expected to help market the fragrance. The company’s lawyer states that Prince’s refusal to give media interviews and stage in-store events forced the cancellation of the licensing agreement because Revelations failed to meet minimum sales requirements and the suit says “Since July 2007, despite repeated attempts by Revelations there have been virtually no communications from anyone who could commit to or coordinate any promotional efforts by Prince”. Mr Crespo’s starting point in assessing damages was to accept Revelation’s account as Prince had defaulted.

Revelations Perfume and Cosmetics Inc  v Prince Rogers Nelson, 603350/2008

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