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  • Writer's picturePeter Lamont, Esq.

Landmark Ruling for NFTs and Intellectual Property Rights

Today (February 8, 2023), a jury found that MetaBirkins and Rothschildhad infringed on Heremes' intellectual property and awarded the company $133,000 in total damages. More importantly, the verdict is likely to have a huge impact on the future of NFTs and digital art, as well as the use of trademarks in relation to these digital assets.

Hermes International SA v. Rothschild, S.D.N.Y., No. 1:22-cv-00384

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have quickly become one of the most popular digital assets in the world, resulting in a surge of both excitement and competition. Hermès International was part of the first trademark trial involving NFTs when it brought a lawsuit against MetaBirkins, and its creator Mason Rothschild, an artist engaged in creating digital art images. The case, Hermes International SA v. Rothschild, S.D.N.Y., No. 1:22-cv-00384, is the first-ever trial examining the NFT, intellectual property nexus.

Today (February 8, 2023), a jury found that MetaBirkins and Rothschildhad infringed on Heremes' intellectual property and awarded the company $133,000 in total damages. More importantly, the verdict is likely to have a huge impact on the future of NFTs and digital art, as well as the use of trademarks in relation to these digital assets.

The dispute began after MetaBirkins created a series of NFTs featuring Hermès’ iconic Birkin bag design. During the trial a blockchain expert testified that Rothschild made around 55.2 Ethereum tokens, worth about $87,700 today in connection with the sale of the digital MetaBirkins.


Throughout the case, Rothschild'a attorneys argued that the NFTs were worlds of artistic expression and not subject to trademark protections. However, the jury found that NFTs were more of a commodity, than a work of art. The jury ws able to distinguish between Andy Warhols famous 'soup cans' and the MetaBirkins bags because of the commercial nature behind the latter.


The non-person jury returned a verdict which awarded Hermès $133,000 in total damages, and also found that Rothschild’s NFTs are not safeguarded by the First Amendment as protected speech.


The verdict is a landmark ruling for NFTs and intellectual property rights, and opens up possibilities for similar lawsuits moving forward. Additionally, the ruling has set a precedent regarding the use of trademarks with regards to digital artwork and cryptocurrency-based assets like NFTs. It is likely that this ruling will have far-reaching implications for creators, collectors, businesses and investors who are involved in the burgeoning world of digital art and NFTs. Ultimately, it serves as an important reminder that even when dealing in digital assets, trademark law still applies. No matter how creative or innovative a work may be, trademark infringement is still illegal and can result in costly damages. Moving forward, creators should take extra care to ensure that their works do notinfringe on any existing trademarks, as this could have serious legal repercussions.

It remains to be seen how the legal landscape will evolve in response to the Hermes International v Rothschild ruling. However, one thing is certain: the world of digital art and NFTs has been forever changed by this landmark decision.


If you would like more information about NFTs and Trademark Law contact us today! We handle all business matters including trademark and intellectual property law from our Bergen County, New Jersey Office.


Contact us Today at our Bergen County Office. Call Us at (201) 904-2211 or email Us at info@pjlesq.com

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May 01

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