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Judge Rejects Counterclaims, Orders Artists to Pay $9M in Bored Ape Yacht Club Lawsuit

Artists Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen have lost their counterclaims in a lawsuit against Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs and must pay $9 million in damages, while also disposing of their NFTs.

Artists Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen have had their counterclaims dismissed in the lawsuit against Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) creator Yuga Labs. The court order requires Ripps and Cahen to pay nearly $9 million in disgorgement and other statutory damages.

In April 2023, Yuga Labs won a lawsuit against Ripps and Cahen for copyright violations related to unauthorized versions of BAYC non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Ripps and Cahen had launched the Ryder Ripps BAYC (RR/BAYC) collection, playing on the BAYC brand.

Initially, they were ordered to pay $1.57 million in damages to Yuga Labs and cover legal fees. However, the recent court filing on February 2 revealed the dismissal of Ripps and Cahen's counterclaims and an increased penalty of almost $9 million, including legal and expert witness fees.

The court also instructed them to destroy or provide any RR/BAYC NFTs they possess to Yuga Labs. Cahen announced their intention to appeal the decision in the Ninth Circuit Court of California.

Ripps and Cahen had raised claims against Yuga Labs for emotional distress and declaratory judgment of no defamation. The judge upheld Yuga's claims of false designation of origin and cybersquatting, specifying the multimillion-dollar penalty. Additionally, they must surrender all social media accounts associated with RR/BAYC NFTs and the smart contract.

This ruling marks a significant development in the ongoing legal battle between artists and NFT creators, highlighting the importance of intellectual property rights in the NFT space.