U.S. court sides with Hermes over MetaBirkins NFT collection

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U.S. court sides with Hermes over MetaBirkins NFT collection

A U.S. court has sided with French luxury fashion company Hermes, granting a permanent injunction on MetaBirkin NFT collection for copyright violations.

On 23 June, a civil jury, consisting of eight individuals, delivered a unanimous verdict against the MetaBirkins creator, Sonny Estival, also known as Mason Rothschild.

Rothschild's MetaBirkins collection is a collection of 100 NFTs that depict furry handbags in the style of Hermes' Birkin bags. The collection is expected to have driven more than $1 million in trades.

Court Judge Jed Rakoff offered a skeptical appraisal of Rothschild's defense, where he claimed the NFTs are an absurdist parody of luxury goods and, as such, constitute free speech protected by the First Amendment.

With the new order in place, Rothschild is banned from marketing, selling, or minting MetaBirkins NFTs and requires control over the metabirkins.com domain name to be transferred to Hermes. Rothschild's request for the court to dismiss the verdict was also rejected by Rakoff.

The case could set an important precedent for future lawsuits related to alleged trademark infringement in a web3 context. In February 2022, Nike filed a lawsuit against StockX, a shoe reseller, for allowing NFTs that it describes as unauthorized recreations of its sneakers.

Hermes accused Rothschild of mistakenly using its Birkin mark to mislead customers into believing the company supported the project in January. Hermes has filed its complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The court ruled in March that Rothschild breached Hermes' trademark and ordered the artist to pay $133,000 in damages. Hermes asked for an injunction in March, accusing Rothschild of continuing to promote the sale of MetaBirkins NFTs to generate royalties.