After the release of a YouTube videos around allegations of racism against the NFT project Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), the news from the orbit of the parent company Yuga Labs began to roll over. YouTuber Philion hooked up with the digital artist about six months ago Ryder Ripps together to jointly investigate the allegations. On his site Ripps drew parallels to far-right ideology and supposed hidden clues within the ecosystem of the Bored Ape Yacht Clubs attentive.
Yuga Labs doesn’t like that at all. The company speaks of character assassination, raises allegations of scams and complains of trademark infringement – because Ryder Ripps himself launched a modified NFT collection of bored monkeys, which Philion praises in his video for the Bored Apes. Now Ripps has to answer in court.
Yuga Labs vs. Ryder Ripps: The Battle for NFTs
Yuga Labs’ attorneys allege trademark infringement, unfair competition, misrepresentation of sources and unjust enrichment on the part of Ripps. That goes from the legal action emerging on June 24th at the US District Court for the Central District of California was submitted.
Ripps copied everyone NFTs of the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection and minted the 10,000 monkeys again under the name RR/BAYC. All monkeys were then for sale for 0.15 ETH on the NFT platform OpenSea. According to Ripps’ site the RR versions are sold out and have even temporarily overtaken the main project in terms of volume.
At 10,000 NFTs, Ripps should have made an estimated $1.8 million from the collection – “unfair profit” according to Yuga Labs.
He brazenly promotes and sells these RR/BAYC NFTs with the exact same branding that Yuga Labs uses to promote and sell authentic Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs.
Yuga Labs indictment
Cancellation of the Bored Apes
Yuga Labs argues that Ripps not only wants to resell the exact same artworks, but also the allegedly infringing NFTs on “the same NFT marketplaces that Yuga Labs uses to sell its Bored Ape NFTs, such as OpenSea”, has offered. This constitutes “elementary trademark infringement” under the states federal Lanham Act. The law prohibits the sale of the same or related products, in the same location, under the same brand names. It is intended to protect consumers from poor quality of the goods. Yuga Labs claims that all of these violations happened in the RR case.
The BAYC founders suspect Ripps wants to devalue the Bored Apes “by flooding the NFT market with its own counterfeit NFT collection.”