Feb 20, 2023

Yuga Labs Accused of Illegally Trademarking Wolf Skull Logo

The popular wolf skull logo of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), Yuga Labs’ premier nonfungible token (NFT) collection, has recently been accused of being illegally trademarked without proper licenses. The image was originally released by a company specializing in drawing tutorials for children and beginners.

The introduction of NFTs was meant to protect the intellectual property rights of artists — a goal that Yuga Labs has now been accused of violating. Crypto Twitter user and NFT artist @Jdotcolombo noticed a post from April 5, 2021, in which Easy Drawing Guides advertised a “step-by-step drawing tutorial” for a wolf skull. The art closely resembled BAYC’s official logo, raising suspicion of wrongdoing since BAYC’s Kennel Club collectibles launched on June 17, 2021.

Easy Drawing Guides responded to the commotion by confirming that Yuga Labs had no license to use the wolf skull drawing. To make matters worse, Yuga Labs had gone ahead and trademarked the unlicensed logo as its own. Easy Drawing Guides stated:

“The intellectual property rights for the drawing belong to Easy Drawing Guides as it’s our original drawing and protected by our Terms and Conditions.”

Cointelegraph confirmed that the terms and conditions of Easy Drawing Guides grant a non-transferable, non-exclusive, revocable, limited license to use and access the website solely for personal, non-commercial use.

While some BAYC supporters believe that no intellectual property was breached, most agree that Easy Drawing Guides is entitled to some sort of compensation.

Yuga Labs has not yet responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

This is not the first time that Yuga Labs has been involved in intellectual property disputes. Co-founder of the BAYC copycat NFT collection RR/BAYC, Jeremy Cahen, filed an opposition notice against 10 trademark applications from Yuga Labs. In the notice, Cahen argued that Yuga Labs 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.

The incident has sparked a heated debate about the importance of proper licensing and promotion of NFTs in the web3 space. As the NFT market continues to grow, artists, collectors, and agencies will need to be aware of the legal implications of selling and promoting NFTs. It is essential that NFT marketing agencies and web3 agencies take the necessary steps to ensure that they are legally protected when selling NFTs. This includes obtaining the necessary licenses and taking measures to protect the intellectual property of the artists they represent.

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