Feb 11, 2023

Founder of RR/BAYC Opposes 10 Yuga Labs Trademarks

The dispute between the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection, Yuga Labs, and the founders of RR/BAYC, Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen, has taken an unexpected turn. On Feb. 9, Cahen filed an opposition notice to the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board against 10 trademark applications from Yuga Labs.

The trademark applications submitted by Yuga Labs were for the use of BAYC logos, artwork, and branding for potential use across digital products such as NFT-based art, trading cards, and Metaverse wearables. The applications also included the possibility of physical BAYC products, including clothing, jewelry, watches, and keychains, as well as entertainment services such as gaming, television, and music.

In the notice, Cahen put forth a list of grounds for opposition against Yuga Labs’ filings. He argued that the company had “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 claimed that Yuga Labs was 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.

Additionally, Cahen stated that Yuga Labs had 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.

When contacted by Bloomberg Law on Feb. 11, a Yuga Labs spokesperson played down 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.

The opposition notice from Cahen comes just days after Yuga Labs settled a 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 any “confusingly similar” BAYC-related projects.

The ongoing dispute between Yuga Labs and RR/BAYC has become a major talking point in the web3 space. With the battle over the BAYC trademarks now in the hands of the USPTO, the crypto and NFT marketing communities will be watching the developments closely.

The opposition notice from Cahen could potentially have an impact on the ability of NFT creators to promote their work and engage in NFT marketing activities. It also raises questions about the potential for NFT marketing agencies to help creators sell NFTs and promote their work on social media platforms such as Twitter.

For now, the outcome of the dispute between Yuga Labs and RR/BAYC remains uncertain. However, the attention the case is receiving could have a lasting impact on the way NFTs are marketed and promoted in the future.

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