Feb 11, 2023

Founder of RR/BAYC Files Opposition to Yuga Labs’ Trademark Applications

The battle between the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection and the founders of the RR/BAYC copycat collection has taken another strange turn. Jeremy Cahen, one of the RR/BAYC founders, has filed an opposition notice against 10 trademark applications made by Yuga Labs.

The US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board received the notice on Feb. 9. All of the trademark filings are currently listed as “pending”.

Yuga Labs’ trademark applications cover a range of BAYC logos, artwork and branding for potential use across digital products such as NFT-based art, trading cards, Metaverse wearables and physical products like clothing, jewelry, watches and keychains. Entertainment services such as gaming, television and music are also included in the applications.

When contacted by Bloomberg Law on Feb. 11, a Yuga Labs spokesperson downplayed the chances of Cahen’s opposition being successful and suggested that the move was just another attempt to cause trouble for the firm.

“The Trademark Office has preliminarily approved Yuga Labs’ trademark applications for registration, and we look forward to their full approval in due course,” they said. “Jeremy Cahen’s filing is just another attempt to distract from the real issue at hand, his infringement of the Yuga intellectual property.”

Cahen’s opposition notice includes a lengthy list of “grounds for opposition” against Yuga Labs’ filings. He claims that the company “abandoned any rights” to certain logo and artwork designs due to BAYC NFT sales granting “all rights” of the digital images to the owners. He also claims that Yuga Labs is not the rightful owner of specific skull designs due to the firm supposedly handing over the rights to the ApeCoin decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) back in March 2022.

In addition, Cahen argues that Yuga Labs failed to provide a “bona fide intent to lawfully use” the trademarks in its filings as the NFTs should be registered and classified as securities under federal law.

Yuga Labs sued Ryder Ripps and Cahen back in June for using BAYC imagery in the RR/BAYC collection, alleging that the duo were intentionally “trolling Yuga Labs and scamming consumers” into purchasing their copycat NFTs.

The opposition notice from Cahen comes just three days after Yuga Labs settled a separate lawsuit against RR/BAYC website and smart contract developer Thomas Lehman. As part of the settlement, Lehman agreed to a permanent injunction barring him from partaking in any “confusingly similar” BAYC-related projects, and distanced himself from Ryder Ripp and Cahen.

The legal tussle between Yuga Labs and the RR/BAYC founders has been ongoing for months, and it remains to be seen how the USPTO will respond to Cahen’s opposition. However, one thing is clear: the dispute is far from over and the future of the BAYC collection remains uncertain.

The dispute between Yuga Labs and RR/BAYC has captured the attention of the crypto and NFT marketing communities, and has highlighted the potential of NFTs as a powerful marketing tool. In particular, the dispute has highlighted the importance of NFT promotion, Twitter NFT marketing, and the need for a specialized NFT marketing agency or web3 agency to help creators maximize the potential of their NFTs.

It’s also highlighted the importance of understanding the legal and financial implications of selling NFTs, and the need to ensure that creators are properly protected when it comes to copyright and intellectual property.

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