One of the founders of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) copycat NFT collection RR/BAYC has filed an opposition notice against 10 trademark applications from Yuga Labs.
The move marks another strange twist in the ongoing intellectual property dispute between BAYC creators Yuga Labs and RR/BAYC founders Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen.
Cahen filed the opposition notice to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on Feb. 9. The opposition status on all of the trademark filings currently read “pending” at the time of writing.
Yuga Labs’ trademark applications were mostly submitted in the latter half of 2021. They covered a bunch of BAYC logos, artwork and branding for potential use across digital products such as nonfungible token (NFT)-based art, trading cards and metaverse wearables.
The filings also list the potential for physical BAYC products, including clothing, jewelry, watches and keychains, along with entertainment services such as gaming, television and music.
Speaking with 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, adding that:
“Jeremy Cahen’s filing is just another attempt to distract from the real issue at hand, his infringement of the Yuga intellectual property.”
In the notice, Cahen puts forward a lengthy list of “grounds for opposition” against Yuga Labs’ filings. In particular, Cahen 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.
Additionally, 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.
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BAYC creators Yuga Labs sued digital artists Ryder Ripps and Cahen back in June 2022 for using BAYC imagery in the RR/BAYC collection. The firm also alleged that the duo was intentionally “trolling Yuga Labs and scamming consumers” into purchasing their copycat NFTs.
The move from Cahen also 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 essentially agreed to a permanent injunction barring him from partaking in any “confusingly similar” BAYC-related projects. In a statement, Lehman also distanced himself from Ryder Ripp and Cahen.