The maker of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, Yuga Labs, has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against conceptual artist Ryder Ripps claiming that he was “trolling” them. The artist is accused of trademark infringement and harassment and could face legal action if found guilty.
In court records, Ryder Ripps was accused of “trolling Yuga Labs and scamming consumers into purchasing RR/BAYC NFTs” by misusing the company’s trademark. The conceptual artist aims to devalue these original BAYC images by flooding his copycat collection with them, which he calls ‘RR-BAYC.’
Artist Ryder Ripps has also called the team behind BAYC racist Nazis. Ripps, the owner of gordongoner.com has been posting examples on his website that he says represent “dehumanizing” elements in NFTs. One example drawn from Rippers’ posts was when they equated Black people and the Asian population to monkeys and that the creators of BAYC have been “intentionally embedding Nazi dog whistles throughout their project.” But while Ripps continues to create a campaign against BAYC, he launched his newest collection with designs that used the same images and logos from BAYC. The only difference between them is what you see on each piece- a different color or an altered message about how great this particular item looks! Ripps is scamming buyers with fraudulent NFTs, describing the project as a “deliberate effort to harm Yuga Labs at the expense of consumers.” The lawsuit concludes that “copying isn’t satire; it’s theft,” and lying about things being conceptual art is still deceptive.
The BAYC community is strong and has been actively engaging on Twitter against these allegations. The results of this lawsuit will be monumental in the NFT space and could establish a precedent for future imposters.