Hermès wins the case against MetaBirkins creator, Mason Rothschild, after a year-long battle
According to the jury, the project did not show sufficient “artistic relevance” and could not be protected under the First Amendment.
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French luxury house Hermès wins the case against MetaBirkins creator after a year-long battle.
MetaBirkins is a 100-piece NFT collection released by Mason Rothschild in December 2021. The digital artist reimagined the luxury brand’s iconic bag model, giving it an eco-friendly look. Rothschild recreated Hermès’ bag and digitally covered it with colorful faux fur. According to the artist, the release aimed to put viewers’ minds on alternative textiles, as Hermès produces its bags using rare animal leather.
When released, the starting price of MetaBirkins was 0.1 ETH. In just a few months, the collection got traction and reached approximately $1 million in sales by January 2022. However, due to Hermès’ complaint, it was soon delisted on the NFT marketplaces where it was minted.
In December 2021, a representative of Hermès shared that the collection was an infringement of the company’s intellectual property and that the brand did not authorize the creation of the non-fungible tokens. In January 2022, the company filed a lawsuit against Rothschild, claiming he was “stealing the goodwill in Hermès’ famous intellectual property to create and sell his own line of products.”
In May 2022, the court started analyzing the case based on the Rogers Grimaldi standard, which claims that an artist can use a trademark if the artwork does not mislead consumers to sponsorship or other connection to the brand.
Finally, on February 7, 2023, a Manhattan federal district court announced its decision. Hermès won the case against Mason Rothschild. According to the jury, the project did not show sufficient “artistic relevance” and could not be protected under the First Amendment.
The case became the first-ever to involve non-fungible tokens and trademarks and will definitely impact the future of NFT-related trademarks.
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