Hersterian NFT maker wins U.S. court case against MetaBirkins

Hersterian NFT maker wins U.S. court case against MetaBirkins

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

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

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

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

Rothschild's request blocks Rothschild from marketing, selling, or minting MetaBirkins NFTs, and requires control over the Metabirkins.com domain name to be transferred to Hermes. Rakoff also refused Rothschild's request for the court to dismiss the verdict or hold a new trial.

The case could set an important precedent for future lawsuits involving alleged trademark infringement in a web3 context. In February 2022, Nike filed a class-action lawsuit against StockX, a shoe reseller, for offering NFTs that it contends are unauthorized recreations of its sneakers.

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

Rothschild violated Hermes' patent and ordered the artist to pay $133,000 in damages. In March, Hermes asked Rothschild to injunction, accusing them of continuing to promote the sale of MetaBirkins NFTs to generate royalties.