In early 2023, a federal jury found an opportunistic meta-artist infringed on a luxury fashion house’s iconic handbag trademark. Digital artist Mason Rothschild created 100 unique “MetaBirkin” non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) depicting luxury brand Hermès International’s renowned Birkin bags covered in faux fur in a range of contemporary color and graphic representations. Rothschild sold the NFTs for $450 each and received re-sale commissions in the tens of thousands of dollars. Describing the project as an “experiment” in artistic expression and conceptual art, Rothschild likened the MetaBirkins to Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s soup can pop art. Proclaiming the MetaBirkins are artistic commentary on a status symbol of the rich, i.e. exclusive Birkin bags, Rothschild sought cover under the First Amendment to protect him from Hermès’ claim of infringement.
Continue Reading The Limits of Artistic Expression: A Look Behind How MetaBirkin NFTs Infringed on Hermès’ Famous Trademark and Handbag Trade Dress