Fed Judge Bans NFT Maker from Selling Birkin-Based Collectibles as Hermes Wins Lawsuit

In a monumental and final decision, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has permanently banned MetaBirkins NFT collection creator, Mason Rothschild, from selling digital art collectibles inspired by Hermes’ beloved Birkin bags. The judge, Jed Rakoff, also ordered Rothschild and his associates to avoid minting or selling MetaBirkins NFTs or using any online domains associated with the collection.

Furthermore, the judge doubled down on a previous jury’s findings that Rothschild deliberately attempted to mislead consumers regarding the digital art pieces’ connection to Hermes’ luxury bags. Judge Rakoff wrote in a filing on Friday, “As the jury expressly found, Rothschild… purposely sought (with some success) to confuse consumers into believing that his non-fungible tokens (‘NFTs’) labeled ‘MetaBirkins’ were affiliated with Herm├Ęs’ iconic ‘Birkin’ trademarks. In effect, the jury found that Rothschild was simply a swindler.”

The injunction came after a months-long lawsuit that was initiated when Hermes International sued Rothschild in January for copyright infringement. The French fashion house accused Rothschild’s collection of Birkin-inspired NFTs of infringing on its intellectual property rights. In February, a jury ruled in favor of Hermes and awarded the company $133,000 in damages.

The MetaBirkins NFT collection generated over $1 million in sales after its initial release in December 2021, which led to considerable attention from the media and crypto enthusiasts. The decision to permanently ban Rothschild from selling the digital art collection serves as a warning to other creators in the underregulated NFT space, where intellectual property infringement isn’t entirely uncommon.

In recent months, NFT analytics firm, bitsCrunch, flagged a popular NFT collection, Coodles, for using McDonald’s golden arches logo. In another instance, sneaker reseller StockX was sued by Nike for selling unauthorized images of its sneakers as NFTs.

Rothschild may appeal the ruling, but for now, the judge’s permanent injunction remains in place. Rothschild’s lawyer declined to comment on the matter.