Hermès Wins Legal Battle: Court Halts All ‘MetaBirkin’ NFT Sales as Requested

Hermès, the renowned French luxury fashion house, has achieved another legal victory in its copyright infringement case against artist Mason Rothschild. A United States judge has issued a permanent injunction, ordering the cessation of all sales related to the “MetaBirkin” non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Hermès initially filed the request with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in March, seeking to block the sale of MetaBirkin NFTs. On June 23, Judge Jed Rakoff, presiding in Manhattan, officially granted the request. He expressed skepticism regarding Rothschild’s defense, particularly questioning the artist’s continued promotion of the project.

Judge Rakoff stated, “[The] defendant’s entire scheme here was to defraud consumers into believing, by his use of variations on Hermes’ trademarks, that Hermes was endorsing his lucrative MetaBirkins NFTs. Nothing in the First Amendment insulates him from liability for such a scheme.”

The MetaBirkin collection comprises 100 NFT artworks featuring furry Birkin-style handbags. Rothschild reportedly generated over $1 million in sales from this project.

The legal dispute between Hermès and Rothschild originated in January when Hermès accused the artist’s NFT collection of improperly utilizing its Birkin trademark, leading consumers to believe that the brand was associated with the project.

In February, the court ruled in favor of Hermès, finding Rothschild guilty of trademark violation based on a verdict delivered by a nine-member jury. The artist was ordered to pay $133,000 in damages.

https://twitter.com/MasonRothschild/status/1623367118493257730

Rothschild had argued that his project constituted artistic expression protected by the First Amendment, drawing a parallel to Andy Warhol’s legal ability to create and sell artwork featuring Campbell’s soup cans. He also contended that he had not intentionally misled consumers, as he had provided disclaimers clarifying that Hermès had no affiliation with the project.

However, both the judge and jury rejected Rothschild’s defense. They considered the use of the term “Birkins” to be misleading and explicitly tied to Hermès’ trademarks.

“The jury found that his decision to use Hermès’ trademarks in the name and design of the MetaBirkins NFTs – not just his marketing and sales techniques – was explicitly misleading and rejected his disclaimer defense,” the court document stated.

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