A U.S. court in California has ruled in favor of Yuga Labs, the company behind the popular NFT collection Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), in a lawsuit against Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen.
Ripps and Cahen are the duo behind the RR/BAYC NFT collection, which features Bored Apes-like mammals and BAYC-like marketing materials. The two created RR/BAYC as a counter to Yuga. The Satirized and Criticized Labs Including claiming to have hidden Nazi images. which the founder of BAYC denies this altogether.
Yuga sued Ripps and Cahen in June 2022. It accused Ripps and his associates of deliberately confusing consumers under the guise of satire. and making unfair profits while being proud of the damage done to BAYC with their allegations.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California found that Yuga Labs was the owner of the BAYC trademark and that the Defendant used the BAYC mark, meaning the image, to sell RR/BAYC NFT without Yuga Labs’ consent and in “a manner that would cause a misdemeanor.” Confused” with similar products confuses consumers who actually intend to purchase BAYC NFT.
Further, the court held that the defendant’s use of the BAYC mark was not a case of fair use. or artistic expression under the so-called Rogers Test. due toThe RR/BAYC project is intentionally misleading.
Ripps and Cahen argue that because NFTs are intangible, As such, they are not protected under the Lanham Act, which regulates trademarks. service mark and unfair competition To prevent abuse and false advertising
But the judge disagreed. The reason is that NFT is a digital product. It still qualifies as a commodity under the Lanham Act due to its uniqueness, traceability, and brand relevance.
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