The Birkin handbag was said to be created on a flight from Paris to London when British actress Jane Birkin sat next to Hermès Chairman Jean-Louis Dumas and complained she had no bag that met the needs of young mothers.
With a sketchbook on hand, the Birkin was born on that same flight. Dumas included a dedicated pocket for baby bottles. In the following decades, the Birkin handbag has become a symbol of wealth and affluence.
Today, the Hermès Birkin holds the title of the most expensive handbag in the world, with prices reaching up to A$600,000. Even the process of purchasing a Birkin handbag is complex in itself. After an extensive waitlist, you do not have the luxury of choosing colour or size.
Hermes sues nft creator
Not only that,the price of one of these NFT Art of designer bags in the metaverse, seems to have hovered around42 thousand euros. Extra motivation for Hermès to sue the artist as follows:
“[Mason Rothschild] is “a digital speculator who is seeking to get rich quick by appropriating the brand MetaBirkins for use in creating, marketing, selling, and facilitating the exchange of digital assets known as non-fungible tokens,” which simply “rip off Hermès’ famous BIRKIN trademark by adding the generic prefix ‘meta,’” which refers to “virtual worlds and economies where digital assets such as NFTs can be sold and traded”.
Mason Rothschild’s response
The next day,Rothschild posted its response to Hermèson its social channels, includingTwitter.
In the statement, Rothschild states the following:
“I’m not creating or selling fake Birkin bags.
We’re seeing it with crypto. What kinds of rules do you expect we’ll see in the future regarding NFTs?
KAL RAUSTIALA: Yeah, that’s a really excellent question. I think with a lot of things, as you mentioned, the innovation takes place, and then the regulation comes after, or the rules come after. So with NFTs, there are really no court cases right now to look to.
There’s one or two that are maybe kind of next to the question, but not exactly on point.
So to take the Tarantino case, if that one were to go to a judgment, that would be a big deal, and that would begin to lay down some markers on what’s possible.
Hermes sues nft creators
So it seems like the lines are blurring between what a company says constitutes its intellectual property rights and what artists are claiming as fair use. And one example making headlines is a turf war that’s brewing between luxury brand Hermes, famous for its iconic, very expensive, luxury Birkin bags, and the artist behind the Metabirkin, Mason Rothschild.
And we actually had him on our show recently. So I want you to take a listen to what he had to say about his entry into this virtual foray, if you will, and then get your reaction on the other side.
MASON ROTHSCHILD: For me, there’s nothing more iconic than the Hermes Birkin bag.
And I wanted to see as an experiment to see if I could create that same kind of illusion that it has in real life as a digital commodity.
Hermes sues nft creatorcraft
That’s an excellent question and an area where I think a lot of people have been confused in this case and in other cases. So first of all, the NFT itself, it’s a non-fungible token. You can buy and sell that. And people have resold them.
And of course, the notion is that you will be able to resell them in the future. That’s why they’re valuable.
On the other hand, NFTs often are pointing to, as in this case, some underlying artwork. Just like when you buy a painting, you don’t then own the underlying copyright in that painting.
You can’t then put that on a t-shirt, for example, if you buy a Picasso or a maybe more a better example would be a contemporary artist still under copyright. So the NFT is distinct from the underlying artwork that it typically points to. And no, you can’t then go and monetize that artwork.
Hermes sues nft creatorname
MetaBirkins Discord channel playing home to over 16,000 users – who all believe there is a correlation between BIRKIN and Rothschild’s project.
Lastly, the MetaBirkins website expressly states that “MetaBirkins are a tribute to Hermes’ most famous handbag, the Birkin, one of the most exclusive, well-made luxury accessories” – evidencing Rothschild’s apparent knowledge of what he was doing, ultimately (mis) leading consumers into believing that there was/is some type of official relationship.
What’s Rothschild Arguing?
Rothschild has made it clear through the @MetaBirkins Instagram account that he would be putting up a fight, using what he believes to be his First Amendment rights to make and sell art that depict Birkin bags, refusing to apologize for the project and inviting Hermès to be part of this movement.
MetaBirkins, to remove the infringing NFTs from its website, asserting that the MetaBirkin NFTs violated Hermès’s intellectual property. Although OpenSea removed the listings, Rothschild moved the MetaBirkins to another online exchange and continued to advertise and sell the MetaBirkins on his website. And in a futile attempt to appease Hermès, Rothschild added a disclaimer to his website stating that the MetaBirkins were “not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected” with Hermès, but inexplicably linked the disclaimer to the Hermès website, thus eliciting an allegation from Hermès that the disclaimer only caused further confusion among consumers that Hermès was sponsoring the MetaBirkin NFTs.
Additionally, after receiving the cease-and-desist letter, Rothschild took the dispute to social media to publicly defend his actions.
Further, Hermès alleges that Rothschild’s use of the MetaBirkin term as his own trademark also stands in the way of his fair use defense. This is because a fair use defense does not provide protection from liability if the defendant uses the allegedly infringing mark as the defendant’s own trademark or source of goods. The MetaBirkins themselves were facing issues of counterfeits – where counterfeiters were creating tokens with similar names and selling fake versions of the MetaBirkin NFTs.
Ironically, as outlined in the complaint, Rothschild claimed trademark rights in the term “MetaBirkins” when complaining of counterfeiters.
Famed French fashion houseHermès has sued Mason Rothschild, thecreator of the collection of 100 MetaBirkins NFTs, which include images depicting furry renderings of the traditional Birkin.
The complaint accusesthe artist of being a “digital speculator”who wants to get rich in the metaverse by stealing Hermès’ famous BIRKIN brand.
Hermès and the lawsuit against Mason Rothschild of MetaBirkins NFT
According toreports, it seems that Hermès is not standing by in the metaverse when it comes to its brand and its famous Birkin bags but rather, has acted by actually suing its creator.
This Just In: Hermes names MetaBirkins creator Mason Rothschild in new trademark infringement, dilution suit.
– Another NFT issue that’s getting a lot of buzz right now is between Miramax and director Quentin Tarantino over the cult classic “Pulp Fiction” What’s the story there? And how do you think the impact resonates on NFTs in Hollywood?
KAL RAUSTIALA: Sure. So we were just talking about art, which is really one of the areas that’s blown up in the last year with NFTs. They go back a few years. But basically, most people, I think, have heard of them in the last year because of the astronomical prices paid for certain art NFTs.
But now that wave is hitting Hollywood. And the Miramax Tarantino lawsuit is the first out of the gate.
That lawsuit– so first of all, Tarantino today is closing the auction on the very first NFT that he’s selling from Pulp Fiction. So that auction opened, I believe, on Monday.