How AriZona Iced Tea went too far in using the Bored Ape Yacht Club brand after buying Bored Ape NFT

  • We’ve been analyzing the blanket commercial licenses–a form of decentralized collaboration–that Yuga Labs has granted with every purchase of a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT. It’s the “secret sauce” behind Yuga Labs’ meteoric success.
  • A buyer of a Bored Ape NFT gets the right to commercially use the Bored Ape, plus make derivative works from it.
  • AriZona Iced Tea was the first company to do so and even made a comic book with the Bored Ape NFT it purchased.
  • But AriZona Iced Tea reportedly went too far in using the trademark “Bored Ape Yacht Club” with its logo to promote its beverages. Decrypt reported that Yuga Labs objected to the use of its logo and trademark.
  • Owning one of our NFTs does not give any rights to our name, logos, or branding however; that was inappropriate usage and we’ve messaged them about it,” said Yuga Labs.
  • Presumably, a Bored Ape NFT buyer can still use the name “Bored Ape,” which describes the character associated with the NFT purchased. Such nominative fair use would not be trademark infringement because there is really no other way to describe the character.
  • It’s surprising AriZona Iced Tea hasn’t made greater uses of its Bored Ape, such as on the apparel it sells.