Yuga Labs, the creators of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), has won a major court victory and more than $1.5m from a conceptual artist who ripped off BAYC NFTs in the name of satire.
Artist Ryder Ripps and colleague Jeremy Cahen were found to have infringed the BAYC trademarks in a California court.
The defendants claimed that their use of BAYC trademarks was satire and parody. Still, the court sided with Yuga Labs.
The court’s ruling emphasized that the defendants acted with a “bad faith intent to profit” and concealed their registration of the domain names through a proxy registration service.
California District Judge John Walter granted Yuga Labs’ request for damages for cybersquatting violations, amounting to $200,000 for the two domain names— rrbayc.com and apemarket.com— and awarded a permanent injunction against the defendants.
“After the court ruling against Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen for infringing Yuga Lab’s intellectual property, today they’ve been ordered to cease all sales and marketing of their counterfeit NFTs,” a Yuga spokesperson said.
According to the filing, “Defendants do not have any trademark or other intellectual property rights in the domain names, and the domain names do not consist of the legal names of defendants.”
The court denied the defendant’s claim the BAYC marks were protected under the First Amendment and fair use. Yuga Labs’ spokesperson said the victory thwarted scammers and supported creators advancing web3 experiences worldwide.
The court dismissed the defendants’ counterclaim about false accusations of infringement and the use of racist and neo-Nazi imagery in BAYC NFTs.
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