Yuga Labs, creators of the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, received a counterclaim in an ongoing lawsuit against an artist and his business partner who allegedly forged “copycat” versions of their NFT collection.
Yuga Labs filed the lawsuit in June, accusing artist Ryder Ripps and the founder of NFT marketplace Not Larva Labs, Jeremy Cahen, of copying their NFT collections and devaluing the original Bored Ape products. The pair have responded to the complaint, denying many of the allegations.
“Each of these NFTs is an entry on a decentralized digital ledger and entirely unique by design, making them both non-fungible and impossible to copy,” the court filing from Dec. 27 says.
Ripps and Cahen claim that their take on the BAYC collection, called RR/BAYC, does not infringe on the copyright owned by Yuga Labs. Furthermore, they claim they “used conceptual art to critique hateful imagery” they saw used by Yuga Labs.
Yuga Labs did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest development.
“Our lawsuit [holds] Ripps and Cahen accountable for their obvious and blatant theft of Yuga Labs’ trademarks,” a Yuga Labs spokesperson told The Block earlier this month. “They intentionally misled consumers and made millions by using Yuga’s intellectual property to market and sell copycat NFTs. We will continue to prove these facts as the case progresses.”
The U.S. District Court of Central California denied a motion in favor of Yuga Labs earlier in December.
Yuga Labs is also facing a lawsuit on a different front. Californian law firm Scott + Scott filed a class-action suit against Yuga Labs and almost 40 people and companies, alleging they were part of “a vast scheme” of undisclosed celebrity endorsements to promote products like BAYC. A Yuga Labs spokesperson denied this.