So, why is the Ryder Ripps/ Yuga Labs case significant? It establishes a precedent for safeguarding intellectual property and trademarks within the NFT and crypto markets. It shows that creators and companies can legally protect their intellectual property and trademarks, even in emerging and decentralized tech environments.
Yuga Labs’ action against unauthorized NFT use reinforces this importance in the NFT market.
Timeline of Yuga Labs’ NFT Legal Battle
Ripps and Cahen launched the Ryder Ripps Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection in May 2022. It closely resembled Bored Apes, which Ripps accused of perpetuating Nazi symbolism.
In June, Yuga Labs sued Ripps and his associate, alleging the creation and promotion of “copycat NFTs” that devalued the authentic ones.
Yuga claimed that Ripps marketed and sold the collection using identical trademarks to those employed by BAYC’s actual creator. According to them, it was a deliberate attempt to undermine Yuga by creating uncertainty among consumers about the association between RR/BAYC NFTs and the genuine BAYC.
Ripps then sought to challenge the lawsuit in August, asserting his NFTs constituted a form of appropriation art intended as artistic criticism.