Yuga Labs Inc., the company behind Bored Ape Yacht Club, has reached an agreement in its legal dispute against a developer. The developer allegedly duped collectors into purchasing counterfeit Bored Ape NFTs.
In January, Yuga Labs took legal action against Thomas Lehman for his role in helping conceptual artist Ryder Ripps create NFTs featuring Bored Ape’s images and name. By utilizing the RR/BAYC brand, these alleged counterfeiters attempted to undermine the original artwork’s legitimacy.
Yuga Labs expressed their delight in the confidential agreement with Lehman and showed gratitude for his acknowledgement of involvement. Yuga Labs said they are, “pleased that Mr Lehman acknowledged his role in assisting former cohorts, Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen, to infringe on Yuga Labs’ trademarks in developing, marketing, and selling counterfeit NFTs.”
Developers Will No Longer Have Any Ownership of Yuga Labs Material
The accused Thomas Lehman denied his role in counterfeiting Yuga Labs NFTs, but together, they have agreed that he will have no ownership of any Yuga Labs or similar material.
“It was never my intention to harm Yuga Labs’s brand, and I reject all disparaging statements made about Yuga Labs and its founders and appreciate their many positive contributions to the NFT space,” Lehman said in a statement.
Going forward, the company and Lehman put forward an injunction order which would bar him from operating under the BAYC mark or any other marks that are potentially confusing in relationship to RR/BAYC NFTs.
The proposed order demands the developers delete any material in his ownership or control which exhibits the BAYC or similar marks, including all RR/BAYC NFTs he owns.
The Lawsuit Case against Ryder Ripps
In June 2022, the creators of Bored Ape Yacht Club made a legal claim against Ripps and Cahen for deceiving buyers into obtaining phony Bored Ape NFTs by utilizing Yuga Labs’ licensed trademarks.
Ripps was accused of false marketing and trademark violation to deliberately diminish the value of Bored Ape NFTs. Ripps made millions from this deception. He employed what was dubbed “pumping and dumping” fake NFTs in order to gain an advantage.
It’s alleged that Ripps along with others, including Lehman and Hickman created a website that allowed users to reserve an NFT to be minted by Ripps.
These NFTs allegedly used the exact same images that were created by Yuga, and the “new” collection was named “RR/BAYC”. The website also contained several of Yuga’s trademarks, such as the designation “BAYC”, the “BAYC” logo as well as the logo of an ape skull.
This case with Ripps is ongoing, and according to him, his NFT creation was a form of protected free speech that exposed neo-Nazi and alt-right imagery depicted in the Bored Ape collection. He believes Yuga Labs’ lawsuit is an attempt at silencing this valid critique, which he finds unacceptable.