MetaBirkins NFT Maker Faces Lifetime Sales Ban for Birkin-Related Collectibles, Rules Federal Judge

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Digital artist Mason Rothschild designed a collection of 100 special digital items called “MetaBirkin” non-fungible tokens (NFTs). These NFTs showcased Hermès International’s famous Birkin bags, which were creatively depicted with faux fur in various modern colors and graphics.

A Federal Judge Issues a Lifelong Prohibition on NFT Makers Sale of Digital Art Collectibles Emulating Hermes’ Legendary Birkin Bags, Marking the End of a Prolonged Legal Battle and Sending a Strong Message to the NFT Industry

The judge’s ruling comes after a significant period following a jury’s verdict, which determined that the creator of the NFT collection had violated Hermes’ intellectual property rights.

Judge Jed Rakoff, who oversaw the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, has commanded Rothschild and his team to stop creating or selling MetaBirkins NFTs and using any related online domains. Additionally, he reinforced the jury’s conclusion that Mason Rothschild, the creator of the collection, intentionally deceived customers regarding the association between his digital artworks and Hermes’ high-end handbags.

In a recent filing, Judge Rakoff highlighted that the jury had specifically determined that Rothschild, who identified himself as a “marketing strategist,” deliberately aimed to create confusion among consumers. He successfully led them to believe that his non-fungible tokens (NFTs), named “MetaBirkins,” were connected to the well-known “Birkin” trademarks of Hermès.

According to Reuters, the release of the MetaBirkins NFT collection in December 2021 attracted significant interest and resulted in sales exceeding $1 million. This collection comprised 100 digital art collectibles that captured widespread attention at the time.

Following the launch of the MetaBirkins NFT collection, Hermès International, a renowned French fashion house, filed a lawsuit in January 2022 against the creator of the collection, claiming that the Birkin-inspired artworks violated their intellectual property rights. In February, a jury ruled in favor of the handbag manufacturer, granting them $133,000 in damages as compensation.

Rothschild’s defeat against Hermes carries a cautionary message for other creators involved in the loosely regulated NFT industry, where instances of intellectual property infringement are not uncommon. For instance, NFT analytics firm bitsCrunch raised concerns about the unauthorized use of McDonald’s famous golden arches logo in the popular NFT collection called Coodles. Additionally, Nike took legal action against sneaker reseller StockX last year for selling unauthorized images of its sneakers as NFTs. These cases highlight the importance of respecting intellectual property rights in the NFT space.

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