Cooke Quoted on Historic Hermès Win Over MetaBirkin NFT Artist

The Guardian
Partner Michelle Cooke was quoted on the first-of-its-kind decision addressing trademark rights in the Metaverse. A New York City jury ruled that an artist violated fashion house Hermès’ Birkin trademark by selling his MetaBirkins NFTs.

Michelle said that this decision would be very meaningful to brands, especially those interested in establishing a commercial presence in the Metaverse.

“Unquestionably, this decision is an important win for Hermès and brand owners more generally,” she said. “We do not yet know what pushed the jury over to Hermès side. But one issue that they likely weighed was evidence indicating that Rothschild launched the MetaBirkins NFTs as a commercial venture.”

She noted, “The quickness of the decision also indicates that the jury was not hindered by the fact that NFTs were the medium at issue. Instead, the jury seemed to find … that existing trademark laws are sufficiently elastic to protect brand owners’ rights as to NFTs.”

However, Michelle thinks the issue may come up again as brands begin to sell products in the Metaverse and artists push the boundaries of new technological art types. She added that this case might even end up being appealed.

“There will continue to be tensions between brand and content owners in emerging digital environments,” she said.

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