Yuga Labs, the company behind some of the most popular NFT collections, has secured victory in an NFT copyright infringement lawsuit against Ryder Ripps.
A US District Court Judge, John Walter, has ruled in favor of Yuga Labs, awarding the company approximately $1.6 million in damages, along with legal fees.
The lawsuit stemmed from Ryder Ripps, an American conceptual artist, and Jeremy Cahen, Ripps’ business partner, who duplicated Yuga Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT art.
The copyright infringement case was initiated after the artists released their own NFT collection, known as the Ryder Ripps Bored Ape Yacht Club (“RR/BAYC”), with the intention of drawing attention to what they alleged was Yuga’s use of racist, neo-Nazi, and alt-right messages and imagery.
Yuga Labs took legal action on July 24, 2022, by filing a Complaint against the duo, citing false advertising, false designation of origin, and trademark infringement.
The legal battle partially concluded on April 21, 2023, when the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued a ruling in favor of Yuga Labs, recognizing their ownership of the BAYC trademarks and resulting in a partial summary judgment against Ryder Ripps.
Despite the partial summary judgment against them in April, the duo persisted in marketing and promoting their imitation BAYC versions.
On October 25, 2023, US District Court Judge John Walter ruled that Yuga Labs is entitled to over $1.3 million from Ryder Ripps’ profits, $200,000 in statutory damages, and reimbursement for their attorneys’ fees and costs.
This case is one of several lawsuits concerning NFTs. In February, Hermès won an intellectual property trial against Mason Rothschild’s NFT project “MetaBirkins,” securing $133,000 in damages.