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Bored Ape Yacht Club Copycats Dealt Legal Blow by US Court

Jimmy Aki
Last updated: | 3 min read

The hugely popular non-fungible token (NFT) maker of Bored Ape, Yuga Labs, has recently won its case against copycat Ryder Ripps. 

According to court documents, Yuga Labs is said to have won on all counts.

Yuga Labs Gets Summary Victory

The legal tussle which began last summer seems to have turned in the face of Yuga Labs. 

The creator of the largest non-fungible token (NFT) ecosystem comprising the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club, recently won a landslide over Ryder Ripps and his cohorts.

According to court documents, Yuga Labs has won its case against the copycats of its Bored Ape digital collectible on the cause of infringement. 

The US Northern District Court agreed with the prosecutor’s position that the RRBAYC collection created by Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen was not only intended to highlight irregularities in Yuga Labs’ NFT collection. 

Instead, it was determined that the defendant’s use of the BAYC trademark did not represent fair use or due artistic expression as claimed.

Not done there, the court also sided with Yuga Labs, ruling that the copycats committed false destination of origin and that the defendant’s free speech claims were not tenable in this case. 

Given this, the court termed the RRBAYC NFT collection maliciously, and the US District Court said it was meant to profit.

The court also stated that the NFT marketplaces with the domain names apemarket.com and rrbayc.com were cybersquatting and that the apparent similarity to the Bored Ape project could easily lead to public confusion. 

The court’s grounds for siding with Yuga Labs was that Ryder Ripps only registered the domain names after the company launched the BAYC NFT collection. 

The court also stated that the defendants tried to knowingly paint the BAYC collection in a bad light in a bid to misrepresent it. 

The NFT has been in uproar since the court documents were made public. 

According to entertainment and intellectual property lawyer Ash Kernen, Esq, Yuga Labs’ victory is a complete knockout of the defendants. 

Other NFT enthusiasts have praised the court’s decision as well. Yuga Labs’ copyright and trademark attorney Jessica Neer McDonald called the court decision a “big win.”  

However, not everything went in Yuga Labs’ favor. According to the court ruling, the Otherdeeds metaverse makers must wait for the trial to file for damages.

NFTs Are Goods and Not Securities

The recent infringement victory claimed by Yuga Labs appears to have answered questions about a controversial topic that NFT investors have been concerned about. 

In the court document, the Northern District Court of California clearly stated that NFTs are goods and should not be treated as securities. 

The court stated that the defendant’s claims that the BAYC collection was not tangible goods did not elevate it above the Lanham Act’s recognition of it as such. 

The court then ruled that NFTs were virtual goods and not securities; hence Ripps’ representation of the project without proper approval from Yuga Labs was a gross legal misstep on their part.

While this may appear insignificant, NFT supporters have seized it, claiming that the court’s decision clarifies whether these virtual collections are securities.

The Yuga Labs team has stated that the summary judgment was a landmark victory for the Web3 space. 

This is a positive trend for the project, which has since seen its sales decline in the last 90 days. 

Following claims by Ripps and his cohorts that the collection featured hidden Nazi symbols and that they intended to satirize it, the project’s global NFT popularity has since dropped.