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World’s First NFT Trademark Lawsuit Concludes in Favor of French Fashion Brand Hermès 

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • The NFT artist, Mason Rothschild, will have to pay $133,000 in damages to Hermès
  • Brands rushed to file for IP trademarks for their products in 2022.
  • Does the decision mark a bad day for NFT artists?
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Hermès has won its yearlong lawsuit against Mason Rothschild over what it considered an infringement of its intellectual property.

In Jan. 2022, the French luxury brand, filed a lawsuit against Mason Rothschild, the digital artist who created the MetaBirkins non-fungible token (NFT) collection.

Rothschild created MetaBirkins, which depicted the brand’s Birkin bags, without the permission of the parent company, Hermès. It collected over 200 ETH during the sale. According to a Financial Times report, the French brand won the trial in New York on Wednesday, with Rothschild ordered to pay $133,000 in damages.

Hermès' Birkin bag as MetaBirkin NFT
Source: OpenSea

Hermès’ Victory Bad News for Artists?

Rothschild’s lawyer argued that their client’s work should be protected under the right to artistic expression under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. They compared his art with Andy Warhol’s silk-screen prints of Campbell’s soup cans. 

Blake Gopnik, the author of Warhol’s biography, could have linked the similarities between the artworks. But, to Rothschild’s dismay, Gopnik could not attend the testimony.

Hermès’ lawyers claimed that Rothschild stole the goodwill of their “famous intellectual property to create and sell his own line of products.” They further pointed toward the similarity of the website URLs that might confuse the users.

Jonathan Harris, one of Rothschild’s lawyers, said: “The decision marked a good day for luxury brands and a bad day for artists.” It is worth noting that Rothschild didn’t create any tangible Birkin-type bags; he just took the bag as an inspiration and created digital art.

Luxury brands have been keeping an eye on this case since 2022. As a result, Rolex, Nike, and many other brands filed for trademarks to offer NFTs and metaverse services in 2022. 

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Harsh Notariya
Harsh Notariya is a journalist and crypto expert that excels in delivering the latest Web3 and Crypto News. Previously, as a Growth Marketer at Sporty and a Community Consultant at Totality Corp, he significantly boosted community engagement and followers. Harsh also crafted engaging content for top crypto influencer Shivam Chhuneja, blending meme references for an educational yet fun experience. His versatile skills make him a notable figure in crypto journalism.