Today: 14-04-2024

Legal Victory: Yuga Labs Prevails in Bored Apes NFT Counterfeiting Case, Upheld by US Appeals Court

"U.S. Appeals Court Affirms Denial of Ryder Ripps' Bid in Bored Ape NFT Counterfeiting Case"

In a recent development, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the ruling denying artist Ryder Ripps' attempt to dismiss California state-law claims brought by Yuga Labs, the maker of Bored Ape Yacht Club non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Yuga Labs accused Ripps and his business partner Jeremy Cahen of counterfeiting its NFTs, seeking damages. The appeals court ruled on Monday that Ripps and Cahen are not protected by California's free speech law.

Last week, a federal judge in Los Angeles ordered Ripps and Cahen to pay Yuga more than $1.5 million in damages. The lawsuit, filed last year, claimed that Ripps and Cahen made millions by counterfeiting Bored Ape tokens, posing as an art project. Ripps defended his actions, describing the copies as 1st Amendment-protected works of appropriation art critiquing alleged racist and antisemitic imagery in Yuga's NFTs.

The 9th Circuit appeal focused on a previous ruling denying Ripps' and Cahen's request to dismiss Yuga's state-law claims under California's anti-SLAPP statute, designed to protect free speech. The appeals court unanimously upheld this decision, stating that Ripps' alleged misuse of Yuga's trademarks for NFT sales was not "in furtherance of" free speech. The judges emphasized that Ripps's broader artistic project may relate to free speech but does not serve as the basis for the alleged conduct underlying Yuga Labs' claims.

Representatives for Ripps, Cahen, and Yuga declined to comment on the appeals court's decision. The legal battle continues as the case proceeds.

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