Ryder Ripps can depose Wylie Aronow, Greg Solano (aka Gordon Goner, Gargamel), co-founders of Yuga Labs, in Bored Apes trademark lawsuit

  • Magistrate Judge John E. McDermott denied Yuga Labs’ motion for a protective order seeking to “prevent[] Defendants [Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen] from taking the depositions of Wylie Aronow and Greg Solano [the Bored Apes co-founders] and ordering Defendants not to serve further notices of depositions of either individual until taking Yuga Labs’ deposition and lead counsel meeting and conferring via video conference to determine the extent to which such depositions remain necessary, if at all.”
  • Yuga Labs had invoked the “apex witness” doctrine that protects the top executives of companies from being deposed until it is shown that other employees of the company cannot provide the relevant information in a deposition. The court rejected Yuga Labs’ request.
  • Now Ripps can proceed forward in deposing both Aronow and Solano, both of which are scheduled for this week (but could be rescheduled).
  • In his defense of Yuga Labs’ trademark infringement claim, Ripps argues that the co-founders of the Bored Ape Yacht Club were intentionally using Nazi dog whistles and racist depictions in BAYC images. Ripps contends that his reminting of a new set of “RR/BAYC” NFTs using the exact same image files as the original Bored Apes was intended to call attention and criticize the BAYC project.
  • This is a major victory for Ripps, at least during the discovery phase.
  • We are still awaiting the court’s order denying Yuga Labs’ motion and will add further analysis. [UPDATE: you can download the order and read our analysis here.]
  • **COI disclosure: I own NFTs by Yuga Labs: a Mutant Ape and Otherdeed.