Yuga Labs, the $4 billion company behind the successful NFT project Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), has reached a settlement in its legal dispute with developer Thomas Lehman.
On January 20, 2023, a complaint was filed against Thomas Lehman concerning his involvement in coding and creating the “RRBAYC RSVP Contract” and “rrbayc.com” for Ryder Ripp’s NFT project RR/BAYC.
Ripps’ project involves 10,000 NFTs that were modeled after the BAYC NFTs and share the same names, attributes, and characteristics.
Yuga is engaged in a separate legal lawsuit, filed last June in a Southern California federal court, against Ryder Ripps regarding his project, which the company alleges to be a clear violation of intellectual property rights.
In early 2022, Ripps started to spread accusations that the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs had concealed pro-Nazi and racist symbols. In May of the same year, he sold a set of 10,000 copy-cat Bored Ape NFTs, which he claimed was a political and artistic statement.
According to Ripps, the collection was meant to bring to light Yuga’s alleged ties to Nazi ideologies as well as raise legal questions regarding the reproducibility of NFTs.
Last month, Yuga expanded its legal action against Ripps by filing separate lawsuits against two other participants of the RR/BAYC project, one against Thomas Lehman in the Northern District of New York and another against developer Ryan Hickman in a federal court in Nevada.
Thomas Lehman received 15% of the profits generated by the RR/BAYC collection, which reportedly made $1.6 million in sales.
Although the terms are confidential, the settlement requires Lehman to refrain from using the “BAYC Mark” in any form, destroy any materials displaying the “BAYC Marks,” and dispose of any RR/BAYC NFTs he possesses.