A new property rights case has fallen on Yuga Labs, the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). It is accused of stealing the ownership rights to a design for the logotype of its Bored Ape Kennel Club annexed non-fungible token (NFT) collection.
Yuga Labs accused of stealing property rights
This is a new, murky case for Yuga Labs, the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). The company is accused of using an image from a website to create the Bored Ape Kennel Club logo without permission, as one Twitter user first noted:
Bro @BoredApeYC @yugalabs what a fucking joke bahahahaha you got some explaining to do. 4/5/21 and your kennels came out 6/21 and you went and trademarked this skull. Are you guys ok or have you bumped your heads? https://t.co/HiLFdbnFL5 pic.twitter.com/FJigzJgBr8
– COLOMBO (@Jdotcolombo) February 17, 2023
Moreover, as he points out here, Yuga Labs filed a trademark application for its logotype (including this drawing with the characters BAKC) in November 2021, while Easy Drawing Tutorial, owner of the drawing, had already shared the sketch on social networks a few months earlier.
Furthermore, as the Easy Drawing Tutorial website’s terms and conditions state, it is strictly forbidden to “copy, modify, transmit, reproduce or use the content of the site to create derivative works”.
This was confirmed by the site in response to Colombo’s tweet, indicating that indeed Yuga Labs did not hold a license to the drawing, and that ownership of the drawing remained protected under the site’s terms and conditions.
Yuga Labs’ explanation
Greg Solano, long known as “Garga”, posted a statement on his Twitter account to express his misunderstanding. He said that Yuga Labs has already contacted the freelance artist who was hired to create the logo for the Bored Ape Kennel Club:
Saw the claims today about the BAKC logo. This was news to us and we’re still investigating the situation. Have reached out to the freelancer we hired for that design and Easy Drawing Guides. We’ll be changing the logo and updating it on our site / ask marketplaces to change as… https://t.co/OwtflDXehz
– Garga.eth (Greg Solano) (@CryptoGarga) February 18, 2023
Thus, according to Garga, the logotype should be reworked soon and the platforms offering the relevant NFTs should also update it. He defends himself by adding that “from the beginning”, the collection concerned was created to raise funds for animal protection associations, a cause for which Yuga Labs has indeed donated more than a million dollars.
However, as their own website states, only the royalties from the first six weeks of sales were used for this purpose. The rest of the time, Yuga Labs received 2.5% of the transaction fees collected on secondary markets such as the OpenSea platform.
The Bored Ape Kennel Club NFTs were originally offered to Bored Ape owners as a reward, as were the mutant serums. However, the collection still sits in the Top 10 collections on Ethereum, alongside other Yuga Labs collections like Otherdeed.
Otherdeed’s plots are actually the most lucrative side collection for Yuga Labs, with the company having raised several hundred million dollars from them.