Yuga Labs lawsuit against Bored Ape “Troll” leads to further complications


  • The Bored Ape Yacht Club will answer the court in the “Troll” case.
  • Ripps launched the replica collection of 10,000 Bored Ape NFTs in May.
  • Yuga was scared to call firm executives to testify.

The directors of the firm behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club will have to be questioned by a prominent, contentious critic. On Monday, a judge ordered Yuga Labs co-founders Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano to take depositions in the company’s ongoing patent infringement case against conceptual artist and online provocateur Ryder Ripps.

The decision is the latest step in a long and horrific drama involving one of crypto’s main participants. Ripps began to circulate rumours in early 2022 that Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs included hidden but purposeful racist and pro-Nazi themes. Ripps then marketed a replica collection of 10,000 Bored Ape NFTs in May, claiming it was a politically charged statement of creative expression.

Yuga has tried, and at times failed, to walk a fine line between eliminating an outspoken critic for uttering incendiary charges and accidentally providing him with more ammunition. Yuga looks to be doing all possible to limit the artist’s ability to use the case to his advantage. The firm sued Ripps just for trademark infringement, not copyright infringement or defamation—a very precise legal approach designed to keep Ripps from converting the lawsuit into a referendum on the duplicability of NFTs or a show for his incendiary charges.

The court in the case ruled on Monday that such claims were inadequate on their merits, concluding that only Yuga’s co-founders could attest to the origins of the Bored Ape mark.The judge also chastised Yuga for a lack of diligence, highlighting the company’s inability to reply to repeated requests from Ripps’ counsel to arrange deposition arrangements, and he directed Yuga’s co-founders to appear in court as soon as feasible.

One of Ripps’ attorneys, Alfred Steiner, said he knew the reason behind why Yuga was afraid to put company management in a testimony session. That criticism, as laid out in a December submission on behalf of Ripps and his founder Jeremy Cahen, goes back to the beginning of the company, trying to claim that the company’s foundation, its icons, illustrations, and even its title, are all built on an elaborate system of ironic, alt-right, neo-Nazi, and racist allusions.