The iconic wolf skull logo of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), Yuga Labs’ premier nonfungible token (NFT) collection, is at the center of controversy.
According to allegations, the image was illegally trademarked without proper licenses, and the original drawing tutorial was created by a company specializing in drawing tutorials for children and beginners.
NFTs were introduced to the world to help solve the illegal use of intellectual properties and protect artists, the very problem Yuga Labs has been accused of doing.
The controversy arose when Crypto Twitter member and NFT artist @Jdotcolombo came across a post from April 5, 2021, in which Easy Drawing Guides advertised “an easy step-by-step drawing tutorial” for a wolf skull.
The art displayed by the company closely resembled BAYC’s official logo, which initially raised suspicion of wrongdoing, considering that BAYC’s Kennel Club collectibles launched on June 17, 2021.
Easy Drawing Guides responded to the commotion to confirm that Yuga Labs had no license to use the wolf skull drawing. Taking things one step further, Yuga Labs trademarked the unlicensed logo as its own. In response, Easy Drawing Guides stated:
“The intellectual property rights for the drawing belong to Easy Drawing Guides as it’s our original drawing and protected by our Terms and Conditions.”
On the one hand, BAYC supporters believe that no intellectual property was breached in using the logo; however, most agree that Easy Drawing Guides is entitled to some serious compensation.
The intellectual property dilemma is not new for Yuga Labs. One of the founders of the BAYC copycat NFT collection RR/BAYC filed an opposition notice against 10 trademark applications from Yuga Labs.