In June 2022, Yuga Labs Inc., the parent company of the Bored Ape Yacht Club non-fungible token collection, filed a federal lawsuit against artist Ryder Ripps, one of most vocal critics of the BAYC NFT project.
Ripps created his own NFT project around May 2022, which he called RR/BAYC, using online digital images from the BAYC NFT collection by generating new NFTs using URLs embedded in Bored Ape Yacht Club smart contracts.
Yuga claims that Ripps and co-founder Jeremy Cahen used some of the same digital art images as the BAYC collection, and relied on Yuga’s trademarks for promotion in an alleged scheme to mislead consumers, harass Yuga, and enrich themselves.
Yuga’s complaint asserted causes of action sounding in false designation of origin, false advertising, cybersquatting, trademark infringement, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, conversion and tortious interference against RR/BAYC founders. Notably, the complaint doesn’t mention copyright infringement.
Whether Ripps’ copycat project transpired as alleged or is an example of protectable artistic…