An objection notice was filed against Yuga Labs’ 10 trademark registrations by one of the original creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) imitation NFT collection, RR/BAYC.
This action signals yet another bizarre turn in the continuing fight over intellectual property between the people who created BAYC, Yuga Labs, and the people who founded RR/BAYC, Jeremy Cahen and Ryder Ripps.
On February 9, Cahen submitted the objection notice to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). At the time that this article was being written, the opposition status on each and every trademark application was listed as “pending.”
The majority of Yuga Labs’ trademark applications were sent in during the second half of the year 2021. They went through a number of BAYC logos, pieces of artwork, and branding that may potentially be used across a variety of digital goods, such as artwork based on nonfungible tokens (NFTs), trading cards, and metaverse wearables.
The files also include a potential for tangibly produced BAYC goods such as apparel, jewelry, watches, and keychains, in addition to the possibility of providing entertainment services like as gaming, television, and music.
In an interview on the 11th of February with Bloomberg Law, a spokeswoman for Yuga Labs played down the possibilities of Cahen’s challenge being successful and said that the action was only another effort to generate difficulty for the company.
Jeremy Cahen’s filing is just another attempt to distract from the real issue at hand, which is his infringement of the Yuga intellectual property, they said. “The Trademark Office has preliminarily approved Yuga Labs’ trademark applications for registration, and we look forward to their full approval in due course,” they added.
Cahen provides a comprehensive list of “grounds for disagreement” to the files made by Yuga Labs in the notice that he submitted. In particular, Cahen asserts that the corporation “abandoned all rights” to certain logo and artwork designs as a result of BAYC NFT sales transferring “all rights” to the digital pictures’ owners. Cahen bases this argument on the fact that the company sold BAYC NFTs.
In addition to this, he asserts that Yuga Labs is not the legitimate owner of certain skull designs since the company is said to have transferred ownership of these rights to the ApeCoin decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) in March of 2022.
In addition, Cahen contends that Yuga Labs failed to provide a “bona fide intent to lawfully use” the trademarks in its filings, despite the fact that NFTs ought to be registered and categorized as securities in accordance with federal law. Cahen’s argument is based on the fact that NFTs should be registered.
Yuga Labs, the company that developed BAYC, filed a lawsuit against digital artists Ryder Ripps and Cahen in June 2022, accusing them of exploiting BAYC graphics in their RR/BAYC collection. The company also claimed that the two individuals were purposefully “trolling Yuga Labs and tricking customers” into buying their imitation NFTs. This was an additional allegation made by the company.
Cahen’s action comes only three days after Yuga Labs resolved a separate case against RR/BAYC website and smart contract creator Thomas Lehman. Cahen’s move also comes just three days after Yuga Labs’s settlement.
As part of the agreement, Lehman basically consented to a permanent injunction that prevents him from taking part in future “confusingly comparable” BAYC-related ventures. This provision was included in the settlement. Lehman has distanced himself from Ryder Ripp and Cahen in a statement that he has released.