Ryder Ripps Ordered to Relinquish Fake Bored Apes to Yuga Labs

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  • A U.S court has ordered Ryder Ripps to surrender control of the fake Bored Ape NFTs he had created to Yuga Labs
  • The court also commanded the artist to pay over $1.5 million to Yuga for infringing the company’s trademark
  • Ripps had defended himself by saying that his actions amounted to “artistic criticism”

Conceptual artist Ryder Ripps has failed to convince a U.S court that his motive to create a duplicate and cheaper Bored Ape NFT collection dubbed ‘RR/BAYC’ constituted an act of “artistic criticism,” forcing the court to order him to relinquish control of the fake collection’s smart contract to Yuga Labs. The court also awarded Yuga Labs over $1.5 million in damages which is more than the $200,000 the company was targeting in damages. Yuga had sued the artist in June last year claiming that he was out to harm the company’s reputation and value of its Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection, something that’s usually a gray area in the web3 space.

Bad Faith with Intent to Profit

According to the court, the amount awarded in damages is equivalent to what the artist and those who helped promote the fake Ethereum collectibles like Jeremy Cahen profited from their dubious endeavors. They’ll also bear the burden of legal fees incurred by Yuga Labs.

The court also directed the artist to immediately stop selling and marketing the Bored Ape knockoffs. According to the court, Ripps’ intent in using almost similar domain names was to “divert [Bored Ape] customers” for financial gains.

The court added that the artist and his team used a proxy to hide the registration of the domain names, an indication that their actions weren’t artistic criticism but “a bad faith with intent to profit.”

A Precedent Set?

The ruling comes roughly nine months after Yuga Labs ended a lawsuit with the fake collection’s smart contract developer Thomas Lehman after agreeing on an undisclosed settlement.

With Yuga Labs winning the trademark infringement case, it’ll likely set a precedent in the web3 world and deter anyone planning to unlawfully profit by disregarding an entity’s intellectual property rights.