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Hermes Wins Permanently Blocking Sales of "MetaBirkin" NFTs in Trademark Dispute

Manhattan Judge Grants Hermes' Request, Citing Consumer Confusion and Irreparable Harm.

Credits: REUTERS

A Manhattan federal judge has approved Hermes' plea to permanently halt artist Mason Rothschild's sales of "MetaBirkin" non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The decision comes after a jury concluded that Rothschild's NFTs infringed on Hermes' trademark rights related to the renowned Birkin handbags.

Judge Jed Rakoff of the U.S. District Court supported the permanent injunction, reasoning that Rothschild's ongoing promotion of the NFTs would likely mislead consumers and cause irreparable damage to the luxury brand. Rakoff dismissed Rothschild's appeals to overturn the jury's verdict or initiate a new trial.

Rakoff stated, "The defendant's intention was to deceive consumers by leveraging variations of Hermes' trademarks, giving the impression that Hermes endorsed his lucrative MetaBirkins NFTs. The First Amendment does not shield him from liability for such deceptive tactics."

Both Hermes and Rothschild representatives have not yet commented on the court's decision.

NFTs serve as unique tokens on blockchain networks, primarily used for verifying ownership of digital artwork. Last year, Hermes filed a lawsuit against Rothschild, accusing him of creating MetaBirkins, a collection of 100 NFTs featuring images depicting Birkin handbags adorned with vibrant fur.

Referring to Rothschild as a "digital speculator," Hermes argued that the NFTs constituted a "get rich quick" scheme that infringed upon their "Birkin" trademark while falsely suggesting the fashion house's endorsement. Rothschild, known legally as Sonny Estival, contended that the works were satirical reflections on luxury goods and fell under the protection of the 1st Amendment, as they did not explicitly mislead consumers and artistically employed the trademarks.

In February, a jury ruled in favor of Hermes, awarding the company $133,000 in damages.

Following the jury's decision, Hermes claimed that Rothschild continued marketing the NFTs. In March, the luxury brand requested the court to enforce a cessation of sales, demand the surrender of remaining tokens, and seek post-trial profits from Rothschild.

Rothschild argued that Hermes' demands exceeded the appropriate scope for a case involving artistic expression.

While largely granting Hermes' requests, Judge Rakoff refrained from ordering the transfer of the tokens, citing 1st Amendment concerns and opting for caution.

  • Manhattan federal judge grants Hermes' request to permanently block sales of "MetaBirkin" NFTs by artist Mason Rothschild.

  • Rothschild's marketing of NFTs deemed likely to confuse consumers and cause irreparable harm to Hermes.

  • Judge Rakoff denies Rothschild's requests to dismiss the verdict or hold a new trial.

  • Rothschild accused of attempting to defraud consumers by misleadingly using Hermes' trademarks.

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