Playboy sued for $12m over vodka

A lawsuit has been filed against Beverley Hills-based lifestyle brand Playboy by its former spirits licensing agent over claims it failed to pay millions of dollars in commission fees.

bottle-playboyA lawsuit was filed on Monday for $12 million by Broad Street Licensing Group (BSLG), accusing Playboy Enterprises of failing to maintain commission obligations over its Playboy-branded liquor, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

BSLG says that in 2012 it signed an exclusive two-year licensing agreement to act as Playboy’s agent for spirits, later agreeing a deal with VuQo Inc in the Philippines to manufacture Playboy’s own-brand vodka.

In 2014, the contract with VuQo was terminated and Playboy set up its own independent contract with the manufacturer, producing a product which according to BSLG was “identical” to its own Playboy bottle.

BSLG claim it is entitled to commissions not only for any deal during the term it acts as exclusive licensing agent, but also one year following termination.

“To make matters worse,” the complaint writes, “Playboy has also refused to pay BSLG commissions on $800,000 in royalty advances Playboy received in March of 2014 from VuQo, claiming — in a feat of accounting that would make Enron jealous — that these funds were ‘returned in the form of a credit to [VuQo’s lead investor] toward a future relationship with Playboy’.”

The company is claiming breach of contract as well as breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, while claiming for damages no less than $12 million.

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