The long-running “copycat” NFT lawsuit came to an end as the United States district judge ordered nonfungible token (NFT) artists Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen to reimburse bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs for a total of $1.57 million in disgorgement and damages, in addition to legal fees.
The October 25 order comes after Yuga Labs won a partial summary judgment on April 21. The company had claimed that the defendants, Ripps and Cahen, had violated copyright laws by creating imitations of its collectibles, the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC).
Judge John Walter of the district court decided that the NFT firm was entitled to a disgrace of the defendants’ profits and granted Yuga Labs $1.37 million. The judge also awarded an additional $200,000 in statutory damages, or $100,000 for each of the defendants’ ACPA violations.
The judge found that Yuga Labs has also been entitled to reimbursement for its legal fees and costs from the NFT artists. The judge noted, “A trademark case is generally considered exceptional for purposes of awarding of attorneys’ fees when a party has taken positions that can be characterized as ‘malicious, fraudulent, deliberate or willful.’”
In addition, Judge Walter rejected the defendants’ claim that their BAYC versions were “satire” and “parody,” finding that the defendants had violated Yuga’s BAYC trademarks on purpose and had malicious intent to make money from them.
He cited that even after the partial judgments given in April, the defendant resumed to market and promoted their copycat BAYC versions.