- California’s U.S. District Judge ruled favor of Yuga Labs, ordering Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen to pay $1.5 million for trademark infringement.
- The judge imposed penalties beyond monetary damages, requiring Ripps and Cahen to stop all NFT sales and hand over their online blockchain assets.
- The court rejected the defendants’ counterclaim, affirming Yuga Labs’ rights to the Bored Ape Yacht Club marks.
In a significant turn, California’s U.S. District Judge ruled in favour of Yuga Labs, the mastermind behind the well-known Bored Ape Yacht Club. The judge ordered Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen to pay $1.5 million for infringing on Yuga Labs’ trademark rights. The profits Ripps and Cahen made from their counterfeit “Ryder Ripps Bored Ape Yacht Club” led to this judgment.
Besides the monetary damages, the judge imposed an additional penalty. The duo must stop all NFT sales and hand over their online blockchain assets. The court’s decision also emphasized the illegitimacy of Ripps and Cahen’s argument. They previously claimed their version was merely “satire” and “parody” of the original Bored Ape Yacht Club rather than a direct infringement.
Moreover, the judge has granted Yuga Labs $200,000 in damages concerning cybersquatting violations. Cybersquatting involves registering a renowned brand or company’s domain name to sell it later for a profit. In this case, the domains rrbayc.com and apemarket.com were the culprits. The court observed, “Defendants only had an interest in the domain name to divert potential customers of Yuga Labs to their commercial website.”
However, the court didn’t stop there; they rejected the defendants’ counterclaim, which accused Yuga Labs of using offensive imagery in their Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. The court highlighted that Yuga Labs, despite having unregistered BAYC Marks, still possessed the rights to those marks. Consequently, these marks are valid and protectable.
The timing of domain registrations by Ripps and Cahen was another point of contention. The pair registered their domains post the launch of Yuga Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, further cementing the infringement case against them.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club started in April 2021 and is a collection of 10,000 unique NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. Holders of these NFTs not only join an exclusive community and gain unlimited copyright for media or design usage. Such is the craze that Seth Green, the renowned Family Guy star, spent a hefty $300,000 to reclaim his Bored Ape NFT after a phishing incident.