Hersterian designer wins U.S. court case against MetaBirkins NFT collection

Hersterian designer wins U.S. court case against MetaBirkins NFT collection

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

On June 23 the court heard a nine-member panel ruled that the MetaBirkins creator, Sonny Estival, also known as Mason Rothschild, had a unanimous verdict against MetaBirkins creator Sonny Estival.

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

Judge Jed Rakoff argued that Rothschild's defense was an absurdist parody of luxury goods and, as such, constitute free speech protected by the First Amendment.

Rothschild will be subject to a ban 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 judgment was also rejected by Judge Rakoff.

The case could mark a significant precedent for future lawsuits regarding alleged trademark infringement in a web3 context. Nike filed a lawsuit in February 2022 against StockX, a shoe distributor, for offering NFTs that it alleges are unauthorized recreations of its sneakers.

The MetaBirkins dispute started in January when Hermes accused Rothschild of misusing its Birkin trademark to mislead customers into believing the company supported the project. Hermes filed a suit on behalf in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Rothschild violated Hermes' Trademark the following month and ordered the artist to pay $133,000 in damages. Hermes filed an injunction in March alleging Rothschild's continued support for the sale of MetaBirkins NFTs to generate royalties.