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  • Louise Wagon

Who owns Beeple's NFT, Everydays - The First 5000 Days?

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Metakovan sues Twobadour, claiming that his ex-partner is falsely taking credit for buying Beeple's NFT.

Beeple NFT representing 5000 stitched images
Beeple, Everydays - The First 5000 Days, NFT, to be sold at Christie's in 2021

Vignesh Sundaresan - known for buying, under the pseudonym "Metakovan", Beeple's NFT Everydays –The First 5000 Days for $69.3 million at Christie's in 2021 – and his company Portkey Technologies filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York on June 16 against Anand Venkateswaran, for trademark infringement, unfair competition and false allegations.

By purchasing the digital work, Metapurse – the fund through which Vignesh Sundaresan acquired the NFT – generated a great deal of media attention, opening the door for Portkey to additional business opportunities and increased visibility for its projects and investment "which have become more notable and publicized".

According to the complaint, Anand Venkateswaran sought to profit from this reputation by falsely associating himself with the "Twobadour" brand and claiming to be co-owner of the NFT. These allegations, however, contradict the article published on Substack by Metapurse after the Christie's auction, which recounts "how two immigrants from Tamil Nadu bought a work of digital art for $69 million". The two are Vignesh Sundaresan, aka Metakovan, and Anand Venkateswaran, aka Twobadour.

According to the plaintiffs, Anand Venkateswaran "publicly claimed to be one of the two people who bought the NFT Beeple", seeking to promote his own companies, including eDAO and Layer-E. However, Vignesh Sundaresan alleges that he alone developed and executed the bidding strategy and financed the purchase of the work entirely with his own assets, making him the sole owner of Everydays.

Beeple's NFT at the heart of a trademark dispute?

Anand Venkateswaran began working for Portkey Technologies back in 2017, in web development and communications. His role expanded in 2020, with Anand Venkateswaran additionally helping to operate Metapurse, under the pseudonym Twobadour, on behalf of Vignesh Sundaresan.

The plaintiffs claim that Anand Venkateswaran is not the owner of "Twobadour". In 2020, Vignesh Sundaresan and Portkey began creating different pseudonyms for employees to use in various commercial activities. As part of this, Metakovan created "Twobadour", a protected trademark, including internationally as it has been registered with the World Intellectual Property Organization (OMPI). "Multiple Portkey employees and independent contractors have used this mark in the conduct of Portkey's business, including when writing blogs, responding to emails and posting content on social media," the complaint states.

In early 2022, the defendant signed off on the termination of his contract, as his boss felt aggrieved by his employee's use of the trademark and pseudonym "Twobadour", outside of his work for Portkey.

But, according to the complaint, Anand Venkateswaran continued to associate himself with the NFT purchase and to attribute Metapurse purchases to himself. This included appearances on podcasts and YouTube, where he notably stated on the Blockchain Council channel : "I was the steward of Metapurse... I was one of the two guys who bought the $69 million Beeple coin."

Similar claims appeared all over his social networks. His Twitter bio read : "Cofounder & CEO @LayerEhq. AKA @twobadour, Steward of @metapurse, won @BEEPLE's $69 million auction. NFT fanboy artist. Lucky husband, proud father, hopeful thinker". From now on, "AKA @twobadour, Steward of @metapurse" no longer appears.

Claiming that "Venkateswaran's lies" are damaging the reputation of Vignesh Sundaresan and Portkey, the plaintiffs are seeking an injunction, damages, and attorneys' fees and costs. They state that "this is an action for unfair competition, deceptive marketing, false advertising and trademark infringement [...] Unless permanently enjoined, defendant will continue to falsely associate itself with plaintiffs' business, abuse plaintiffs' intellectual property, cause confusion, error and deception among the public and ultimately harm Portkey's goodwill and business prospects".


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