Yuga Labs settles with a developer of lookalike Bored Ape collection

February 6, 2023, 7:09 PM UTC
Yuga Labs' Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection is one of the most well known.
Mario Tama—Getty Images

Yuga Labs, the creator of the notable Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, reached a settlement with Thomas Lehman, a developer who created websites and smart contracts for a lookalike NFT collection.

The project, RR/BAYC, was created by Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen, with whom the company is embroiled in a separate lawsuit that Ripps has described as a “righteous fight against Yuga Labs.”

RR/BAYC uses the same initials and images used in the original Bored Ape collection, although Ripps claimed in an October anti-SLAPP motion that the suit against him should be dismissed on grounds that the project is protected as a form of satire and free speech. The motion was denied by a judge and later appealed by Ripps.

Ripps and Cahen’s attorney Alfred David Steiner of Meister & Steiner PLLC declined to comment.

The RR/BAYC project has reportedly brought in more than $1 million in sales.

Yuga filed the lawsuit against Lehman, the developer, on Jan. 20, and as part of the settlement Lehman admitted infringement of the company’s intellectual property and denounced the disparaging statements made about Yuga and its founders. Lehman is listed in the smart contract for the lookalike NFT collection as the recipient of 15% of the project’s profits, according to a spokesperson for Yuga Labs.

“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,” Lehman said in a statement provided to Fortune.

The company also filed a proposed permanent injunction with Lehman’s consent that would prevent him from using the BAYC name or anything similar on any website, social media account, or goods or services.

Although Lehman has settled the lawsuit with Yuga, the company still has a suit out against RR/BAYC creators Ripps and Cahen. 

“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 Yuga said in a statement to Fortune. “Yuga Labs looks forward to holding Mr. Ripps and Mr. Cahen responsible for their infringement backed by a campaign of vicious and baseless lies and appreciates Mr. Lehman’s rejection of their actions.”

Ripps, one of the RR/BAYC co-creators, took to Twitter shortly after news of the settlement broke. In what could be seen as a veiled commentary on the settlement, Ripps sarcastically criticized pop artist Andy Warhol’s famous depictions of Campbell’s soup cans. 

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