There can’t be another Hermès Birkin, not even something remotely similar with a furry resemblance. And to prove this point, the French fashion house has triumphed in its fight against Mason Rothschild, who was selling NFTs dubbed MetaBirkin on his website. In a first-of-its-kind case, a nine-member jury ruled the digital images were not art as claimed by the artist and left him with $133,000 in damages ($100,000 for intellectual property infringement and $23,000 for cybersquatting). “Great day for big brands. Terrible day for artists and the First Amendment,” Rothschild’s attorney, Rhett Millsaps, said in a statement. Rothschild launched an Instagram account for the NFTs in 2021 with over 18,000 followers.
A statement in response to: Hermès International, et al. v. Mason Rothschild. pic.twitter.com/pil6brfGTl
— MetaBirkins (@MetaBirkins) January 17, 2022
Rothschild sold 100 NFTs for $450 each, and he received 7.5% of secondary sales—he estimated he earned roughly $125,000 in total. Hermès sued Rothschild in 2022 and won the trial. While the $133,000 is a small sum for a brand like Hermes that makes bags worth nearly double, the sum is indeed significant for the artist who made lesser in total selling the NFTs. “What happened today was wrong,” Rothschild said in a statement. “What happened today will continue to happen if we don’t continue to fight. This is far from over.”
Rothschild’s ‘art’ portrayed the Birkin in fur instead of leather which, in all honesty, did little to make it look like anything else but a fur-covered Birkin. Hermes‘ lawyer wasn’t entirely wrong in stating the NFTs were purchased because of the Birkin name, which implied a nonexistent connection to the luxury label.
What are MetaBirkins?
The best way to describe the work of the Los Angeles artists would be NFTs that look like Birkins and, for a change, make Birkins affordable. Rothschild launched his project during the 2021 Miami Art Basel celebrations with a collection of 100 MetaBirkin NFTs. With a floor price of 8 ETH. He amassed nearly $450,000 banking on the glory of the iconic bag created way back in 1984. Hermès was certainly not taking the toying of its legendary handbag lightly and released a statement to the Financial Times denouncing the products, “These NFTs infringe upon the intellectual property and trademark rights of Hermès and are an example of fake Hermès products in the metaverse.”