Skip to main content

Yuga lands first blow in Bored Ape copycat cases

Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs

Yuga Labs has settled with the coder who helped a conceptual artist duplicate Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs.

Thomas Lehman worked with artist Ryder Ripps in 2021 to openly copy the quirky BAYC NFTs under the RR/BAYC name. He also helped Ripps create a website and marketplace where they could be bought and sold alongside real BAYC NFTs.

Interestingly, the RR/BAYC NFTs referred to exactly the same picture files as the original assets.

Yuga has trademark applications pending for many aspects of the business including “Bored Ape Yacht Club”, “BAYC” and the bored ape skull logo (see picture at bottom of page). It sued Lehman as being instrumental to Ripps’ plan and profiting from it. Yuga has outstanding suits against Ripps and another team member.

A still of Ryder Ripps from a 2011 YouTube video

It appears that as part of the settlement, Lehman was required to acknowledge his wrongdoing. He has also agreed to avoid all Bored Ape trademarks in future.

“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,” he said in a statement.

Ripps has a history of edgy work, including working with PornHub and claiming ownership of the CIA’s logo. He claimed the RR/BAYC was a parody and commentary on the BAYC phenomenon.

A Californian judge disagreed in late 2021, refusing an attempt to dismiss the suit under free speech laws. He said the RR/BAYC art did not in itself convey “an idea or point of view”.

A lawyer for Ripps said “it is highly implausible that there was any confusion as to what customers were buying”.

Enjoy our reporting? Sign up for the Pharos newsletter and receive an update every week for free.

Bored Ape Skull logo
Yuga has registered the ape skull as a trademark
Polemos staff

Our small editorial team is distributed globally: UK, France, Turkey, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, US and Colombia. We are dedicated to bringing our audience accurate and timely information about the world of blockchain gaming. Please see the Editorial Policy or Team links in the footer menu for more.