Simpson Name Game

What’s in a name? It all depends on who ends up with the right to market it.

Jessica Simpson‘s name is at the core of a lawsuit filed in New York’s Supreme Court in Manhattan by Icon Licensing Group against Jessica Simpson Brand Management. Icon says it set up the deal that got JSBM $15 million for selling worldwide rights to the singer’s name to market various swag, and has been stiffed at least $180,000 for its trouble.

Icon’s complaint says it entered into an agreement May 9th with Andrew Kirpalani, owner and manager of JSBM, in which Icon would get a percentage of the commission if it successfully finalized a sale of Simpson’s name.

Icon’s court papers say it arranged a deal between JSBM and Camuto Consulting Group in June. Under the agreement, court papers say, “the rights to the worldwide master license for the trademark ‘Jessica Simpson’ were sold, transferred and otherwise assigned to Camuto for $15 million.”

The agreement called for Icon to get 10 percent of the amount over the first $10 million after certain credits and discounts were deducted, which meant Icon should have received 10 percent of $1.8 million.

The suit, filed November 25th, claims that JSBM through Kirpalani “directed, instructed, advised and otherwise caused Camuto not to pay the commission to Icon,” despite Camuto’s willingness to do so.

Icon’s lawyer, Robert Schachter, said, “We don’t know who said what to whom, but somebody caused Icon not to get paid.”

He said Simpson, who wasn’t named in the lawsuit, was not involved in the JSBM deal. And had she been, would she have had to pay somebody for permission to use her name?