Court rules in favor of Hermès in NFT lawsuit

This week, a federal jury in New York reached a verdict in the closely watched trial between French luxury brand Hermès and Mason Rothschild, an artist who created and sold nonfungible tokens (NFTs) depicting the company's iconic Birkin handbag. The jury awarded Hermès $133,000 in damages and determined that Rothschild had unlawfully profited off the goodwill of their luxury product. The case was one of the first to deal with the intersection of NFTs and intellectual-property law and free-speech protections for art.

Rothschild's attorneys argued that the brand's trademark rights didn't apply to his series of 100 digital images, called MetaBirkins, because the NFTs were constitutionally protected artwork that aimed to make a statement about conspicuous consumption. However, the jury sided with Hermès and found that the artist had infringed on their trademark rights.

The outcome of the trial serves as a reminder to companies that they can protect their trademarks in the digital realm. The verdict may not have created any sweeping changes to intellectual property doctrine, but other companies have brought lawsuits claiming NFT creators are infringing on their trademarks and copyrights. The implications of this case will continue to be felt for some time.


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