One of the founders of the Bored Ape Yacht Club imitation NFT group, RR/BAYC, has filed a notice of opposition against 10 trademark applications from Yuga Labs.
The move marks another bizarre development in the ongoing intellectual property dispute between creators of BAYC Yoga Labs and RR/BAYC founders Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen.
Cohen filed a Notice of Objection with the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeals Board on February 3. 9. The opposition status on all trademark filings currently reads “pending” at the time of writing.
Yuga Labs’ trademark applications were filed mostly in the latter half of 2021, and cover a range of BAYC logos, artwork, and trademarks for potential use across digital products such as NFT-based art, trading cards, and Metaverse wearables.
The filings also list capabilities for BAYC’s physical products including apparel, jewelry, watches, and keychains, along with entertainment services such as games, television, and music.
Speaking with Bloomberg Law in Feb. On September 11, a spokesperson for Yuga Labs downplayed the chances of success for Cahen’s opposition and suggested that the move was just another attempt to cause trouble for the company.
“The Trademark Office has tentatively approved Yuga Labs’ trademark applications, and we look forward to obtaining their full approval in due course,” they said, adding the following:
“Jeremy Kahn’s filing is just another attempt to distract from the real issue at hand, which is his infringement of Yuga’s intellectual property rights.”
In the notice, Kahen provided a long list of “reasons for opposition” against the Yuga Labs filing. In particular, Cahen claims that the company “gave up any rights” to certain logo and art designs because of BAYC NFT sales that give “all rights” to digital images to their owners.
It also claims that Yuga Labs is not the rightful owner of certain skull designs due to the company handing over the rights to decentralized autonomous organization ApeCoin (DAO) in March 2022.
In addition, Cahen argues that Yuga Labs failed to provide a “good faith legal use” of the trademarks in its filings since NFTs must be registered and classified as securities under federal law.
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BAYC creators Yuga Labs sued digital artist Ryder Ripps and Cahen in June for using BAYC images in an RR/BAYC collage. The company also alleged that the duo was intentionally “exploiting Yuga Labs and tricking consumers” into buying counterfeit NFTs.
Cahen’s move 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 participating in any “confusingly similar” BAYC-related projects. Lyman also distanced himself in a statement from Ryder Rip and Cohen.