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This article is written by Vedanshi Dagar, an intern under Legal Vidhiya


Stepping into the upcoming world of the metaverse, which refers to a virtual universe where users can interact with each other and digital objects in a three-dimensional space. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) gained popularity, and these are unique digital assets recorded on a blockchain, often representing artwork, collectibles, or virtual real estate within the metaverse. Discussing the most recent case of Hermès V. Rothschild [“22-cv-384 (JSR)” Hermes Int’l v. Rothschild, 22-cv-384 (JSR), (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 2, 2023)] in this research paper has underscored the importance of transparency and accountability in corporate governance, as well as the need for effective enforcement mechanisms to ensure that companies operate within ethical and legal boundaries. This recent trademark case, Hermes v. Rothschild, has brought to light the importance of protecting intellectual property rights. In this case, Rothschild attempted to register a trademark for a handbag design that was strikingly similar to that of Hermes’ iconic Birkin bag. This blatant attempt at copying a well-known and established brand is not only unethical but also illegal.

Key Words: metaverse, non-fungible tokens, blockchain, trademark, intellectual property rights.


The research paper highlights a landmark case in the emerging field of trademark law in the metaverse. Hermès v. Manson Rothschild involves a dispute between two of the most prominent families in France over shares in the luxury goods company. The plaintiffs, Hermes International, accused Manson Rothschild, the defendant, of cybersquatting, trademark dilution, and infringement. This case further emphasizes how crucial it is to safeguard intellectual property rights. Hermès is renowned for its iconic designs and premium goods, so any attempt to damage its reputation might have negative effects on the company’s bottom line. The present instance is significant because it brings attention to the authenticity and provenance problems in luxury clothing. It prompts concerns about how to ensure that luxury items are obtained ethically and how to confirm their authenticity. It also emphasizes how crucial it is for the fashion industry to safeguard its patent rights. The fashion industry has to pay attention and take authenticity and ethical sourcing seriously in light of this case. It is essential that businesses develop precise policies for validating product authenticity and guaranteeing ethical supply chains. By doing this, they can preserve customer confidence and protect their standing as suppliers of high-end products. Due to the interaction of established luxury fashion companies with new digital art and NFTs, the Hermès v. Rothschild case is crucial for the fashion sector. The case emphasizes the difficulties that high-end businesses encounter when defending their trademarks and intellectual property in the rapidly changing internet world. The case also raises significant issues regarding the reach of trademark protection for high-end fashion labels and the possible effects of NFTs on the fashion industry. The outcome of the lawsuit had a big impact on the fashion industry and how NFTs are used in both art and commerce.

The Hermès V. Manson Rothschild case

In the Hermès v. Manson Rothschild case, Hermès International sued digital artist Mason Rothschild over the alleged infringement of its Birkin trademarks(1). Manson Rothschild created digital images of faux-fur-covered versions of the Birkin handbags, which he sold as NFTs called “MetaBirkins.” Hermès claimed that Rothschild’s creation of “MetaBirkins” NFTs infringed on its Birkin trademarks. The case was a trademark suit of first impression, and the district court denied cross-motions for summary judgment, holding that the Rogers v. Grimaldi test applied(1). The case was set for trial(3).

On February 2, 2023, in a trademark suit of first impression, the district court denied cross-motions for summary judgment, holding that the Rogers v. Grimaldi test applied. The court held that the use of the Birkin trademark in Rothschild’s “MetaBirkins” NFTs was artistically relevant to the underlying work and did not explicitly mislead consumers(1). The case was set for trial, but on June 14, 2023, Hermès and Rothschild announced that they had reached a settlement, and the case was dismissed with prejudice(3).

The legal conflict, in this case, is relevant for a number of reasons. First, it raises significant concerns about the extent of trademark protection for luxury companies in the digital era as established luxury fashion labels conflict with burgeoning digital art and NFTs. Second, the case involves a trademark action of first impression, which means it involves a unique legal problem that has not yet been resolved. The result of the case may have significant legal ramifications for years to come. Third, the case received a lot of media coverage, which increased awareness of the possible effects of NFTs on the fashion industry and intellectual property law more generally. Fourth, the case shows how difficult it is for premium firms to safeguard their intellectual property and trademarks in the rapidly changing internet environment. Finally, the case has the potential to influence how the fashion industry and the usage of NFTs in commerce and the arts develop in the future. The Hermès v. Rothschild case is an important legal conflict with broad ramifications for the fashion industry and intellectual property law due to all of these factors.

The Hermès v. Rothschild case has had a significant impact on intellectual property law, particularly in the area of trademark law and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The case involved a dispute between French luxury brand Hermès and artist Mason Rothschild over the use of the Birkin trademark in Rothschild’s NFTs(4). The case was the first NFT trademark trial and provided guidance on how courts will treat trademark claims involving NFTs(4)(5).

As Rothschild’s attorney attempted to make the comparison between the artist’s representation of Hermès’ opulent Birkin bags and Andy Warhol’s use of the Campbell’s soup mark in his well-known silk screens(6), the case also highlighted the dangers of employing well-known brands in commercial artwork. However, the argument did not prevail, and the jury found that Rothschild’s sale of the NFTs violated Hermès’ rights to the Birkin trademark, awarding Hermès $133,000 in total damages.

The impact of the Hermès v. Rothschild case can be seen in the increased attention and scrutiny given to trademark rights in the NFT space. The case has also raised questions about the intersection of trademark law and freedom of expression in the digital age(7). The case is expected to have far-reaching implications for future legal questions surrounding NFTs and trademark rights.

Final Judgment

On February 14, 2023, the court entered a final judgment in favor of Hermès in the Hermès v. Rothschild case(1). The jury had previously found that Rothschild’s sale of the non-fungible token (NFT) versions of Hermès’ Birkin bags, called “MetaBirkins,” violated Hermès’ rights to the Birkin trademark. The court awarded Hermès $133,000 in damages(8).

The final judgment confirmed the jury’s verdict and awarded Hermès a permanent injunction against Rothschild’s use of the Birkin trademark in connection with the sale of NFTs(1). The judgment also provided guidance on how courts will treat trademark claims involving NFTs. The case is expected to have far-reaching implications for future legal questions surrounding NFTs and trademark rights(5).

The Concept of Metaverse

The metaverse is a term used to describe a virtual world or universe that is created by the convergence of physical and virtual reality. In the metaverse, users can interact with each other and with computer-generated environments using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies(9). Although science fiction and video games helped to popularize the idea of the metaverse, it is now becoming more and more important as technology develops and virtual worlds grow more realistic. The metaverse is frequently pictured as a fully developed digital universe with its own infrastructure, social structures, and economic system. Users will be able to have persistent identities (avatars) that may move between various virtual environments, communicate with other people, and participate in activities such as attending virtual events, exploring virtual landscapes, shopping in virtual marketplaces, and more. The metaverse, according to its proponents, has the power to alter a number of facets of human existence, including communication, entertainment, learning, commerce, and creativity. It could open up fresh channels for interaction, self-expression, and intimate encounters. But before a fully functioning metaverse can be considered a reality on a large scale, there are still numerous technological, moral, and social obstacles to be surmounted.

Future economic and social trends might be strongly influenced by the metaverse. The metaverse may open up new possibilities for entertainment, interpersonal communication, and business in a completely immersive and interactive digital world. Significant economic growth and job prospects are anticipated as the metaverse develops, especially in sectors like gaming, virtual events, and e-commerce.

  1. New business prospect: The metaverse may give rise to whole new markets and economic opportunities. It would offer a platform for virtual commerce, allowing companies to sell virtual goods, services, and experiences because it is a totally digital reality. Additionally, it may lead to the emergence of brand-new professions like virtual world designers, virtual architects, and virtual event planners.
  2. Education Decentralization: By offering immersive and interactive learning environments, the metaverse has the potential to revolutionize education. Students might research historical events, take part in online experiments, and work on projects with classmates from across the world. It has the ability to improve accessibility, personalization, and engagement in education while accommodating various learning requirements and styles.
  3. Enhanced Interaction and Communication: The metaverse has the potential to transform interpersonal interactions and communication. Removing physical barriers would enable people from all around the world to engage in real time. Remote work might become more immersive and effective with the use of virtual conferences, meetings, and collaborative workplaces within the metaverse.

It’s crucial to remember that the creation and broad usage of the metaverse will take time, and cooperation from a variety of stakeholders, including IT firms, decision-makers, content producers, and consumers. Despite the considerable potential advantages, it is crucial to take into account and deal with any hazards or difficulties that may arise from the advent of the metaverse.

In the Hermès International v. Mason Rothschild case, Rothschild produced a number of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) dubbed “MetaBirkins” that featured handbags with fur coverings similar to the renowned Hermès Birkin bag(10). In order to establish a precedent for how trademark rights might apply to and be enforced in the metaverse, Hermès brought a lawsuit for trademark infringement against Rothschild. The case emphasizes the significance of safeguarding intellectual property in the metaverse as well as the potential complexity of trademark rights in digital environments(11).

The case also shows how the metaverse is becoming more and more important in the fields of business and intellectual property. It is anticipated that there will be more legal battles involving intellectual property as the metaverse develops, especially in sectors like fashion and gaming where trademarks and copyrights are highly valued(12).

Exploring Metaverse Opportunities in India

The Hermès International v. Mason Rothschild case demonstrates the rising significance of the metaverse in the fields of intellectual property and business. The gaming and entertainment sectors in India are particularly interested in the metaverse. Businesses now have the chance to investigate the metaverse’s possibilities and create new goods and services that make use of its distinctive features.

The creation of online markets for high-end products and clothing, similar to Rothschild’s MetaBirkins, is one possible commercial opportunity for India. To avoid violating the intellectual property rights of well-known brands like Hermès, it is crucial for companies to take this precaution. Businesses in India should be mindful of the possible legal dangers involved with developing virtual goods that resemble well-known brands in light of the Hermès International v. Mason Rothschild case, which underlines the need for clear legal frameworks for intellectual property in the metaverse.

Utilizing the metaverse for immersive and interactive marketing campaigns offers firms in India even another possibility. Businesses may, for instance, design virtual interactions that provide customers with a more enjoyable and memorable way to connect with their goods. But when gathering and keeping client data in virtual environments, organizations should be aware of possible privacy and security hazards.

The Hermès International v. Mason Rothschild case emphasizes the value of safeguarding intellectual property in the metaverse, and companies in India should be mindful of the potential legal repercussions related to developing virtual goods that resemble well-known brands. There are, however, also chances for businesses to make use of the distinctive powers of the metaverse to create fresh goods and services that attract clients in a more immersive and collaborative manner.

The widespread use of well-known brands in virtual settings has given rise to trademark conflicts in India. For instance, the Indian division of the renowned fashion house Louis Vuitton sued a Delhi-based e-commerce site in 2021 for allegedly selling goods that violated its trademarks. Similarly to this, American video game producer Electronic Arts filed a lawsuit against an Indian software developer in 2020 for unauthorized use of the “FIFA” brand in a mobile application.

Despite the fact that these instances have nothing to do with the metaverse, they serve as an example of how crucial it is to safeguard intellectual property rights in digital settings. It is possible that there will be more legal challenges over intellectual property rights in virtual environments as the metaverse develops in India and throughout the world.


This research article has extensively discussed the case of Hermès International v. Mason Rothschild, which entailed the development of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) known as “MetaBirkins” that featured fur-covered bags replicating the renowned Hermès Birkin bag. Hermès filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement against Rothschild, which established a precedent for how trademark rights might apply to and be enforced in the metaverse. It also provided some examples of related cases in India, the evolution of the metaverse idea, and future possibilities. Discussing the case’s resolution, it was shown that there is a need for clear legal frameworks for intellectual property in the metaverse and that trademark rights there may be difficult to enforce.

The metaverse offers companies and individuals in India an exclusive opportunity to explore and put into practice cutting-edge technologies that have the potential to revolutionize the way we communicate and interact with one another and our surroundings. There is rising interest in the metaverse in India, notably in the gaming and entertainment sectors, as we have seen in the Hermès v. Rothschild case. The metaverse is becoming a more significant arena for commerce and intellectual property.

As a result, it’s critical for organizations, decision-makers, and citizens in India to investigate and use metaverse technology in a sustainable manner. In order to make the metaverse an inclusive and egalitarian place for everyone, it entails making investments in the research and development of metaverse technologies, developing legal frameworks that safeguard intellectual property rights in virtual settings, and encouraging responsible usage of the metaverse.

India’s businesses can utilize the metaverse’s unique capabilities for innovative products and services, including virtual marketplaces, immersive marketing campaigns, and engaging virtual experiences. Policymakers should establish legal frameworks for protecting intellectual property rights, promoting responsible metaverse usage, and ensuring sustainable, equitable metaverse potential. Individuals can explore the metaverse for social interaction, entertainment, and personal expression, advocating responsible use and inclusiveness.

In terms of the Indian economy, the metaverse can open up fresh possibilities for companies to create cutting-edge goods and services. Such as virtual marketplaces for high-end goods and clothing, immersive and interactive marketing campaigns, and virtual experiences that let customers interact with goods in a more memorable and engaging way. In industries like software development, digital marketing, and virtual experience design, this may spur growth and generate new employment. The Indian economy and society stand to gain much from the metaverse, but it is crucial to approach it with responsibility and balance. We can unlock the full potential of the metaverse and build a brighter future for everyone by cooperating to investigate and utilize metaverse technologies in an ethical and sustainable way.


Hermès V. Rothschild Case reference:

  1. https://www.loeb.com/en/insights/publications/2023/02/hermes-international-v-rothschild last visited on 14/06/2023
  2. https://www.natlawreview.com/article/battle-meta-birkin-summary-judgment-showdown-shutdown-herm-s-v-rothschild-set-trial last visited on 14/06/2023
  3. https://www.businessoffashion.com/news/luxury/hermes-and-mason-rothschild-settle-nft-lawsuit last visited on 15/06/2023
  4. https://www.hklaw.com/en/insights/publications/2022/06/hermes-case-gives-guidance-on-how-trademark-law-applies-to-nfts last visited on 15/06/2023
  5. https://www.natlawreview.com/article/nfts-and-trademark-matters-metaverse last visited on 15/06/2023
  6. https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/how-the-hermes-nft-case-will-impact-expression-and-enterprise  last visited on 15/06/2023
  7. http://www.fordhamiplj.org/2023/02/25/an-update-on-hermes-v-rothschild-the-future-of-nfts-and-freedom-of-expression/ last visited on 16/06/2023
  8. https://news.bloomberglaw.com/ip-law/hermes-gets-win-over-metabirkins-in-first-nft-trademark-trial last visited on 17/06/2023
  9. https://www.wired.com/story/what-is-the-metaverse/ last visited on 17/06/2023
  10. https://www.mofo.com/resources/insights/230209-hermes-successfully-defends-trademark-metaverse last visited on 18/06/2023
  11. https://www.hilldickinson.com/insights/articles/hermes-v-metabirkin-trade-marks-entering-metaverse last visited on 18/06/2023
  12. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2022/04/21/nfts-and-birkin-bags-a-hermes-lawsuit-tests-the-limits-of-trademark-rights/ last visited on 18/06/2023


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