Monster lawsuit accuses Apple’s Dr. Dre And Jimmy Iovine of ‘fraud’ and ‘betrayal’

“For audio cable company Monster, the wound that Beats Electronics left is years old but still stings like a fresh stab in the back,” Ellen Huet reports for Forbes. “In a lawsuit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court Tuesday, Monster CEO Noel Lee said that his company was betrayed by Beats Electronics, the company behind ‘Beats By Dr. Dre’ headphones, when the two companies parted ways in 2012, and that Beats has gone on to try to erase Monster’s contribution to its headphones.”

“The suit claims that rapper Andre ‘Dr. Dre’ Young and music mogul Jimmy Iovine conspired to steal the audio engineering that Monster built for the Beats headphones, which were a joint project. The suit alleges that Monster, not Beats, was primarily responsible for designing the headphones, and after Dre and Iovine severed ties with Monster, they tried to wipe away Monster’s role in Beats’ success,” Huet reports. “It adds that beyond Dre’s status as a celebrity, his ‘main contribution was to bless Monster’s headphones when he exclaimed: ‘That’s the shit!””

Read more in the full article here.

“You might know this; you might own a pair of beats that still has Monster’s tiny, subjugated logo printed on them. But what you don’t know is how, in inking the deal, Monster screwed itself out of a fortune,” Sam Biddle reported for Gizmodo back in September 2013. “It’s the classic David vs Goliath story—with one minor edit: David gets his ass kicked and is laughed out of the arena. This is the inside story of one of the all time worst deals in tech.”

“In true Silicon Valley fashion, Lee started out in his family’s basement: taste-testing different varieties of copper wire until he found a type that he thought enhanced audio quality. Then, also in Silicon Valley fashion, he marketed the shit out of it and jacked up its price: Monster Cable. Before it was ever mentioned in the same gasp as Dre, Monster was trying to get music lovers to buy into a superior sound that existed mostly in imaginations and marketing brochures,” Sam Biddle reported for Gizmodo back in September 2013. “‘We came up with a reinvention of what a speaker cable could be,’ Noel Lee boasts. His son, Kevin, describes it differently: ‘a cure for no disease.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Remember that if you ever get the stupid idea to overpay for the nothing extra that Monster cables promise to deliver.

“Monster wanted to jumpstart its headphone business. Badly. In the turmoil of the mid-00s, Dre and Jimmy needed to find something other than records to monetize. Badly. But the money arrangement was destined to be dominated by Iovine, a man who’d gone head to head with Steve Jobs, and ran a music empire—not some small deluxe cable firm. The Monsters knew that if they could harness Dre’s ‘entertainment and sports’ contacts they could launch their company into the mainstream,” Sam Biddle reported for Gizmodo back in September 2013. “They were right, but they were also woefully underprepared for the path to success; in the process, they blew almost every business decision possible.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: So Monster is suing Beats because they suck at business deals?

Beats. A triumph of marketing over sound quality. – MacDailyNews Take, May 8, 2014

Related articles:
Monster sues Apple’s Beats Electronics, founders Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine claiming fraud – January 7, 2015
Monster CEO sounds a little bitter over Apple’s planned $3.2 billion Beats acquisition – May 14, 2014
Apple sues headphone entrepreneur for claiming to be Beats co-founder – September 30, 2014


  1. The article is a good read. Essentially Beats kept ownership of the products and Monster were simply the developer and supplier.
    Moral of the story – be careful what you sign up for.

    1. You are exactly correct – It was a raw deal but they signed onto it. They are just angry because they (monster) failed to see the headphone fashion trend and lost big time. Of course they made enough money selling highly overpriced cables for a long time.. Maybe we should sue for over paying for cables?

  2. Fascinating, though I don’t see why Monster is suing. Based on the articles, it appears that Kevin Lee entered into a deal that made him virtually powerless against Interscope and its legions of lawyers.

    Which sucks, but the last time I heard entering into remarkably one-sided deals wasn’t a suable offense.

  3. Feel no pity for Monster. The company is infamous for suing anything that moves, and has earned a terrible reputation that is apparently well deserved. Sam Biddle of Gizmodo wrote an excellent article about the Monster-Beats deal, explaining that the son of the founder of Monster Cable allowed the company to get screwed by Beats, by not reviewing the contract thoroughly. It’s a cautionary tale. The article ( has links to other stories showing the despicable behavior of Monster leading up to this.

    Let’s just say that Jimmy Iovine is not always the nicest guy in town, but neither are the Lees. Its a classic “scorpions in a box” story.

    In the case of the Lees, you won’t see me crying for them. They got what they deserved.

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