On October 13, 2022, a Venable team led by Marci Ballard (NY), Maria Sinatra (NY), and Sara Krastins (NY) won a $1,050,000 million default judgment award against a group of counterfeiters using unauthorized websites and social media accounts to dupe consumers into purchasing counterfeit Playboy non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs are unique data assets that are stored on a digital ledger and can be bought and sold by the public. NFTs are purchased in connection with cryptocurrency, which is universal digital currency that exists entirely online.
The fake NFTs sold by the counterfeiters purported to be authentic versions of Playboy's Rabbitars" NFT collection. Rabbitars are a unique collection of 11,953 non-fungible rabbits inspired by Playboy iconography, heritage, and lore. Each Rabbitar is granted 175+ traits, including fur, ears, facial expressions, apparel, accessories, and occupation-related characteristics. Some of the rarest Rabbitar traits are inspired by culturally significant aspects of Playboy's art and editorial history.
The counterfeiters copied the contents of Playboy's authentic Rabbitars website (www.playboyrabbitars.com) and utilized some of Playboy's authentic social media accounts to confuse consumers into purchasing the defendants' counterfeit NFTs.
In addition to statutory damages, the Honorable Judge Victor Marrero of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York permanently enjoined the defendants from selling counterfeit Playboy® products and engaging in acts designed to confuse consumers into believing that they are affiliated with, sponsored by, or associated with Playboy when they are not. With this win, Playboy reaffirms its strong stance in pursuing the protection of its intellectual property rights against infringers.