Hersterian NFT maker wins injunction in US case

Hersterian NFT maker wins injunction in US case

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

On June 23 the court documents showed a eight-person civil jury ruled unanimously against the MetaBirkins creator, Sonny Estival, also known as Mason Rothschild.

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

Judge Jed Rakoff argued against Rothschild's defense of the suit, where he contends that the NFTs represent an absurdist parody of luxury goods and, as such, constitute free speech protected by the First Amendment.

Rothschild is obligated to stop marketing, selling, or minting MetaBirkins NFTs and requires control over the Metabirkins.com domain name to be transferred to Hermes. The Supreme Court rejected Rothschild's request for the court to dismiss the verdict and hold a new trial.

The case could set a significant precedent for future lawsuits against alleged trademark infringement in a web3 context. In February 2022, Nike filed a suit against StockX, a shoe reseller, for offering NFTs that it claims are unauthorized recreations of its sneakers.

The MetaBirkins dispute began in January when Hermes accused Rothschild of improperly using its Birkin trademark to mislead customers into believing the company supported the project. Hermes filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Rothschild violated Hermes' trademark the following month and forced the artist to pay $133,000 in damages. Hermes sought an injunction in March, accusing Rothschild of continuing to promote the sale of MetaBirkins NFTs to generate royalties.