Court Orders Ryan Hickman to Pay $47K in Legal Fees to Yuga Labs in Bored Ape Trademark Case

News | June 10, 2024 By:

On Friday, May 31, 2024, the US District Court for the District of Nevada granted Yuga Labs’ motion for attorney’s fees in a trademark infringement case against Ryan Hickman.

Yuga Labs is the company behind Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), a collection of 10,000 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) depicting cartoon apes. Each BAYC NFT is unique and was sold to buyers for hundreds of dollars each. In January 2023, Yuga Labs filed a lawsuit against Ryan Hickman alleging that he created counterfeit BAYC NFTs and used confusingly similar domain names to mislead consumers.

Hickman failed to respond to the lawsuit, and a default judgment was entered against him in March 2023. Yuga Labs then filed a motion seeking $47,178.44 in attorney’s fees from Hickman. They argued the fees incurred from two law firms, Fenwick & West and Fennemore Craig, were reasonable given the legal work performed.

The court evaluated the reasonableness of the fees using the lodestar method of multiplying attorney hours by hourly rates. Fenwick & West, a national intellectual property firm, billed rates between $544-1135 per hour which the court found reasonable. An affidavit stated these were discounted rates. Local firm Fennemore Craig billed $360-520 per hour for attorneys and $250 for a paralegal.

In his response, Hickman claimed Yuga Labs had “unclean hands” and argued the redactions and hourly rates were unreasonable. However, the court rejected these arguments, noting the “unclean hands” defense was waived. It also found the redactions and rates justified. The court granted Yuga Labs’ motion in full, awarding $47,178.44 in legal fees from Hickman for the trademark infringement.

Please contact BlockTribune for access to a copy of this filing.