Hersterian fashion firm wins U.S. court injunction against MetaBirkins NFT collection

Hersterian fashion firm wins U.S. court injunction against MetaBirkins NFT collection

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

On June 23, a civil jury awarded the MetaBirkins creator, Sonny Estival, also known as Mason Rothschild, a unanimous verdict.

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

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

The move prevents Rothschild of marketing, selling, or minting MetaBirkins NFTs and requires control over the Metabirkins.com domain name to be transferred to Hermes. He also declined Rothschild's request for the court to dismiss the verdict or to hold a new trial.

The case could mark an important precedent for future lawsuits regarding alleged patent infringement in a web3 context. In February 2022, Nike filed a lawsuit against StockX, a shoe manufacturer, alleging that it sells NFTs that are unauthorized recreations of its sneakers.

Hermes accuses Rothschild of improperly using its Birkin logo to mislead customers into believing the company supported the project in January. Hermes filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

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