Yuga Labs awarded $1.6M in landmark Ryder Ripps NFT case

A US district judge has declared Ryder Ripps and his business associate will pay Yuga Labs $1.57 million plus legal fees.


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NFT artist Ryder Ripps and his business associate Jeremy Cahen are ordered to pay $1.57 million to Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs for their satirical NFT collection.

In an Oct. 25 court order, US District Judge John Walter said that making the defendants give up their profits would stop them from continuing to step on the Yuga Labs’ trademarks.

In May 2022, Ripps and Cahen launched the Ryder Ripps Bored Ape Yacht Club (RR/ BAYC) collection, a set of NFTs closely resembling Bored Apes, which Ripps claimed were promoting Nazi symbols.

In June that year, Yuga sued Ripps and his colleague, accusing them of producing and selling imitation NFTs that undermined the worth of the original pieces. By April 2023, the court granted Yuga injunctive relief along with monetary damages.

Yuga asserted it was a calculated move to inflict damage on the NFT project by causing consumer uncertainty over the association between the RR/BAYC NFTs and the genuine BAYC.

However, the defendants claimed their creations were a form of “appropriation art,” designed to draw attention to Yuga’s supposed engagement in spreading “racist, neo-Nazi, and alt-right messages and symbols,” pushing Yuga to own up to its conduct.

Despite their claims during trial that their RR/BAYC NFT collection was meant to parody or critique Yuga’s BAYC series, the court said that evidence clearly shows they merely used the BAYC Marks to develop an NFT collection directing to the same images as Yuga’s NFTs.

Furthermore, even after Yuga initiated legal proceedings to assert its trademark rights, Ripps and Cahen didn’t cease their marketing or promotion of their RR/BAYC NFT series, the order said.

The court concluded that Yuga Labs will be award $1.37 million from the defendants’ profits, an additional $200,000 in statutory damages and an undetermined amount covering legal fees. 

Yuga Labs must submit all billing records and documents supporting its claim for attorneys’ fees and costs by Nov. 1.

In a further win for Yuga Labs, the judge issued a permanent injunction against Ripps and Cahen, prohibiting the defendants from further infringing activities. They were directed to hand over control of two domain names and two X accounts.

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