In a landmark case, the Manhattan federal court said that artist Mason Rothschild violated Hermès‘ trademark rights of the iconic Birkin bag. This is a precedent judgement bound to have an impact on the NFT market.
Rothschild has continued acting as he has since November 2021 — brazenly violating Hermès’ intellectual property rights,” statement by Hermès
100 NFTs were created by Rothschild associated with images depicting the Birkin bags covered in colorful fur.
Minting NFTs as digital assets requires valid licences and foolproof contracts. Prior to launching NFTs, the Hermès vs Rothschilds ruling indicates that it would be wise for creators to explore trademark rights and to seek permission to use the asset virtually. It is a necessity to acquire the back up of a contract.
Hermès vs Rothschild
The case of Hermès International vs. Rothschild is registered as Case Number 1:22-cv-00384 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
A permanent injunction is requested by Hermès to stop Rothschild’s conduct. The company alleges that he has “shown that he cannot be trusted,” and that he “repeatedly made false statements” in business dealings and during the trial by jury.
Sonny Estival (aka ‘Rothchild’) claimed immunity from the judgement based of the First Amendment protection for artists and their work. The jury disagreed and ruled in favour of Hermès. The company was awarded US $133,000 in damages.
This is a gross overreach by Hermes and an attempt to punish Mr. Rothschild because they don’t like his art.” Rhett Millsaps – Attorney for Rothschild
Hermès, a leader in the luxury goods market, claimed that Rothschild had infringed its federally registered Birkin trademark. Rothschild argued that MetaBirkins are not commercial assets, as art and expression are protectable under US law. Hermes requested the court to block Rothschild from using the ‘Birkin’ trademark and his rights to income from sales of the tokens and ownership of the MetaBirkin website. Rothschild receives a 7.5 percent royalty for all MetaBirkin sale
During the court hearing Rothschild has been referred to as a ‘digital speculator’ who set up a ‘get rich quick’ scheme.
MetaBirkins started off as a digital art project with ownership validated on the Ethereum blockchain.
Over US $1 million worth of the MetaBirkin non fungible tokens were traded in the first month after they were launched.
The NFT first sold for about US $25,426 and then the price rose to US $50,271. In December 2021 a MetaBirkin sold for approximately US $20,557. Then just after the lawsuit became public the MetaBirkin price dropped considerably and it sold for US $3,895. The MetaBirkin was removed from OpenSea but continued to trade on some other exchanges.
Otherdeed NFTs represent virtual plots of land within the Otherside metaverse. Ethereum-based Otherdeed rose 41.4 percent to US$2.1 million. It is on the Cryptoslam top 3 list.