Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) firm Yuga Labs were ordered to face deposition by a federal judge in their ongoing trademark violation lawsuit against the digital artist, Ryder Ripps.
The latest judgement in the ongoing saga of a prominent figure within crypto marks further escalation of the case. Early last year, Ripps claimed to have revealed suspected abhorrent imagery, such as racist and pro-Nazi imagery, hidden inside Bored Ape Yacht Club‘s NFTs.
To protest the BAYC NFTs in May last year, the artist made and sold his own collection of 10,000 identical NFTs. Yuga claims the artist used misleading labelling and tracking information to fool users into buying them.
Yuga Labs Owners Ordered to Face Deposition in Court
In his defence, Ryder Ripps said his artwork focused on Yuga’s association with Nazis and the legality of NFT duplication. In response, Yuga claimed it was a violation of trademark law and consequently took legal action against the artist in federal court.
Since then, Yuga has tried maintaining a balance between silencing the impassioned critic who was making explosive accusations, and not giving him additional fuel for his fire.
The company carefully chose to sue the artist for trademark infringement, as opposed to copyright infringement or defamation. This calculated legal strategy intends to prevent Ripps from using the case as an opportunity to showcase his inflammatory allegations and debate whether it’s legal to duplicate NFTs.
The case has been ongoing and Yuga co-owners Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano were hoping not to face deposition. In fact, last week, they tried to file ‘an exemption from deposition’ for its owners. They claimed lower-level employees could testify instead.
Surprisingly, this was thrown out of court. The federal judge said the 2 co-owners should speak in court, ordering them to submit to deposition as soon as possible.
After the ruling, Ripps is now eagerly anticipating the chance to cross-examine Yuga’s co-owners personnel under oath. So far, the pair have failed to produce any evidence to back their case.
The artist said, ‘The fact that they, who brought the lawsuit against me, cannot account for their own actions and have dodged producing anything throughout the discovery process should speak volumes.’
The Hearing Has Been Ongoing for Almost a Year
The controversial inquest has been ongoing for almost a year now, and both sides refuse to acknowledge guilt.
After Yuga filed the lawsuit last spring, Ripps said they were attempting to invalidate what he called his ‘research’. He said anyone who bought his NFTs knew they were a parody of the BAYCs.
In Yuga’s response, the $4 billion firm claimed that Ripps had launched a “campaign of harassment based on untrue claims of racism”. They published an open letter, saying trolls were ‘spreading baseless conspiracy theories online and using them to market bootleg NFTs.’
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