BORED APE NFT digital art collection seen on tablet screen placed on 100 dollar bills

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Developer who built parody NFTs of Bored Apes settles trademark infringement case

The NFT company settled out of court with Thomas Lehman in a lawsuit separate to their ongoing suit with Ryder Ripps.

 

Jacob Seitz

Tech

Yuga Labs, the creator of the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, settled a case against one of the people involved in its intellectual property infringement lawsuit against artist Ryder Ripps.

While the main lawsuit between Yuga and Ripps—along with Ripps’ codefendant Jeremy Cahen—is still ongoing, the company filed a separate complaint on Jan. 20 against Thomas Lehman. Lehman, Yuga alleged, was a “central part of a business venture” to infringe on Yuga’s IP with the Ryder Ripps Bored Ape NFTs (RR/BAYC). According to Yuga Labs, Lehman was also a recipient of 15% of all sales of the RR/BAYC NFT collection.

The lawsuit against Lehman was settled out of court, the company said in an emailed release. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Yuga said Lehman admitted to copying the Bored Ape NFTs.

“I am happy to have resolved the Yuga Labs, Inc. v. Lehman trademark lawsuit in the Northern District of New York,” Lehman said, according to the release from Yuga. “It was never my intention to harm Yuga Labs’s brand, and I reject all disparaging statements made about Yuga Labs and its founders and appreciate their many positive contributions to the NFT space.”

Yuga Labs said that the company is happy with the settlement.

“We are pleased that Mr. Lehman acknowledged his role in assisting former cohorts, Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen, to infringe on Yuga Labs’ trademarks in developing, marketing, and selling counterfeit NFTs,” a spokesperson for the company said.

Yuga and Ripps are still in the middle of a legal battle in California. In December, Ripps and Cahen filed counterclaims against the company, which alleged emotional distress and said Yuga sued Ripps over trademark infringement without owning proper copyright to its works.

Yuga originally sued Ripps over the parody set of NFTs he released to criticize both Bored Apes and NFTs at large.

Ripps has long alleged that the Bored Ape NFT collection and its founders had ties to far-right extremist views and has attempted to bring those accusations to light in his counterclaims.

Yuga filed a motion to dismiss Ripps and Cahen’s counterclaims and a hearing for the dismissal is scheduled for Feb. 27, according to the company.

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