Yuga Labs, the company behind the leading non-fungible token (NFT) project, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), won a settlement on Monday in a trademark infringement lawsuit against Thomas Lehman, a collaborator in the RR/BAYC project headed by artist Ryder Ripps, according to court filings.
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- Yuga Labs, which has a US$4 billion valuation, brought the case against Lehman in the District Court of New York last month for his part in the RR/BAYC project involving 10,000 NFTs that share similar names and traits to BAYC. He allegedly helped create the smart contract for that collection.
- RR/BAYC reportedly earned US$1.6 million in sales, of which Lehman collected 15%.
- As part of the settlement, Lehman concedes Yuga Labs’ ownership of the BAYC trademark and that he infringed upon that trademark with his involvement in RR/BAYC.
- The terms of the settlement bar Lehman from using any BAYC trademark, destroying any materials in his possession that contain the mark and burning any RR/BAYC NFTs that he owns. It wasn’t disclosed whether Lehman incurred any financial penalties.
- The settlement looks to be a victory for Yuga Labs in an ongoing intellectual property infringement suit against the project’s creator Ripps, and Jeremy Cahen.
- Ripps launched the NFT collection as part of his accusations that BAYC was full of racist or far-right imagery, a claim that Yuga Labs denies.
- “People who reserved an RR/BAYC NFT understood that their NFT was being minted as a protest against and parody of BAYC, and no one was under the impression that the RR/BAYC NFTs were substitutes for BAYC NFTs or would grant them access to Yuga’s club,” Ripps said in a June 2022 interview with Artnet. “I have been creating NFT artwork for the past year that scrutinizes the purpose, meaning, and social import of NFTs.”
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