Recently, in a pre-trail summary judgment, a federal judge ruled that Yuga Labs, the creator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, is entitled to an injunction and damages from Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen. Ripps and Cahen are the creators of the RR/BAYC project, which utilizes exact replicas of Bored Ape Yacht Club profile pictures. Yuga Labs states that the ruling is a ‘landmark legal victory for Web3.”
“This isn’t just a win for us; it’s a win for the entire Web3 industry to hold scammers and counterfeiters accountable,” a Yuga Labs spokesperson told Decrypt.
Ripps and Cahen state that their project is a parody of Bored Ape Yacht Club, placing it under the first amendment’s protection. The RR/BAYC creators also point out what they claim to be racist symbols within the original BAYC profile pictures and Nazi-inspired content. Yuga Labs, however, denies these claims. “This case is a baseless effort to silence our very real and valid artistic criticisms,” said Cahen in a Tweet last summer. “Trademark law is not a muzzle.”
While US District Judge John F. Walter ruled that Yuga Labs is entitled to an injunction and damages, he disregarded the company’s motion for enhanced damages. Additionally, the judge ruled that the RR/BAYC creators are guilty of committing false designation of origin.
Since the ruling comes from a pre-trail summary, the case is still far from over and Ripps and Cahen could still be victorious in some respects. Since the suit was filed, the judge has called out Yuga Labs for lacking diligence and merits.
BAYC Remains One of the Most Popular NFT Collections
Bored Ape Yacht Club remains one of the best-known NFT collections to date. In fact, BAYC #232 sold for nearly $1 million on a secondary market in November 2022. Multiple celebrities, including Snoop Dogg and Seth Green, own BAYC NFTs. Snoop Dogg even plans to open a Bored Ape-themed dessert restaurant.