Yuga Labs settles case with developer of Ryder Ripps’ copycat project

Yuga Labs settles case with Ryder Ripps copycat project developer Yuga Labs settles case with Ryder Ripps copycat project developer
Yuga Labs settles case with Ryder Ripps copycat project developer

Cover/illustration via Cryptooshala

The developer of the controversial NFT project, led by Ryder Ripps, has entered into an agreement with Yuga Labs.

Thomas Lehman, the developer responsible for creating new NFTs using URLs embedded in Bored Ape Yacht Club smart contracts, said in a post-settlement statement that he rejects the claims made by Ripps. RR/BIKE.

“I am pleased to resolve the Yuga Labs, Inc. trademark lawsuit. v. Lehman,” Lehman said in a statement. “I never intended to damage the Yuga Labs brand. I reject all disparaging statements about Yuga Labs and its founders and appreciate their positive contributions to the NFT space.”

Yuga released their own statement.

“Yuga Labs believes that creators, especially those in the emerging web3 space, should be able to rely on the law to protect their work from intellectual property theft. Today Yuga Labs has reached an agreement with Thomas Lehman, developer of RR/BAYC. We are pleased that Mr. Lehman has acknowledged his role in helping former associates Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen infringe Yuga Labs trademarks in the development, marketing and sale of counterfeit NFTs. Yuga Labs looks forward to holding Mr. Ripps and Mr. Cahen accountable for their violation, backed up by a campaign of vicious and baseless lies, and appreciates Mr. Lehman’s rejection of their actions.”

The village is located next to current case Yuga Labs filed a lawsuit against artists Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Kahen in June 2022 related to a collection of 9,500 copies of NFTs they sold in January 2022, netting them a total of $1.6 million, according to court documents. .

Cryptooshala contacted Ryder Ripps about a settlement agreement with Lehman but received no response.

Yuga Labs Statements Ripps used several identical digital art images of their original BAYC collection, infringing Yuga Lab’s legal trademarks, to promote an alleged scam to mislead consumers, harass Yuga, and get rich.

For his part, Ripps argues that his act was part of a larger conceptual artistic practice that includes the use of what is known as “appropriation”, remember Marcel Duchamp’s urinal, and argues that it is thus a form of artistic expression. subject to protection.

In October 2022, Ripps’ attorneys petitioned the court to dismiss BAYC’s trademark claim on the grounds that RR/BAYC defended free speech based on precedent set by the previous case. Rogers vs. Grimaldiadding that it is entitled to nominal fair use protection, a motion the court denied last December.

In a motion that was denied, Ripps’ defense relied on what is known as the “Rogers Test,” a legal standard in the United States that is used to determine the validity of a trademark infringement claim against an expressive work, such as a film, book, or song. The test requires that the allegedly infringing use be associated with the artistic expression in question and be an integral part of the expressive work.

The United States District Court for the Central District of California ruled on the motion to dismiss, finding that the defendants did not meet the standards set out in the Rogers test. The Ninth Circuit, under which the court operates, requires that a case be tried under the Rogers test, there must be a clear link between the allegedly infringing use and the “artistic expression” that is the subject of the lawsuit. In other words, the use must be an integral part of the expressive work. The court found that the defendants failed to demonstrate this connection and therefore did not reach the necessary threshold to avoid being fired.

Disagreeing with Ripps’ motion to dismiss using the Rogers test, the court said the main issue to be decided in court is the defendants’ sale of the NFT and whether the NFT is an expressive work of art worthy of the First Amendment. Protection against purely commercial activities is now likely to be decided by a jury.

Other important NFT trials to watch out for in 2023

It is important to note that the decision of the federal court of California in Yuga Labs contrasts with another important case played out in the wild world of NFT. This Hermes vs Rothschild a case where last month a New York court refused to allow a motion to dismiss the question of whether “MetaBirkin” NFTs created by Mason Rothschild meet the standards of the Rogers test.

In this case, Rothschild argues that his NFTs, based on images of Hermes’ luxury goods manufacturer, the famous Birkin bag, should be considered original works of art, not unlike Andy Warhol’s silkscreen prints of Campbell’s soup cans, which fall under First Amendment protection.

The Court of Justice for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) ruled that Rothschild’s use of the name “MetaBirkin” was misleading to the public and therefore still considered prosecutable under the Lanham Act.

According to Brian Fry, a professor of law at the University of Kentucky, “many judges are not well versed with the Internet and especially with new phenomena like web3 and NFT,” adding, “No wonder the court didn’t want to make a bold statement.” move and stand trial instead.”

Although in another case, nike vs stockx, which began Jan. 30, Nike is suing sneaker resale platform StockX for integrating NFTs associated with the physical shoes it resells. StockX says it uses NFT solely as a way to authenticate and provide buyers with assurance that the product they are receiving is genuine.

All three tests Nike vs StockX, Hermes vs MetaBirkin And Yuga Labs vs. Ryder Ripps scheduled for review in 2023.

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