Birkin Handbag Creator Hermès Calls MetaBirkin NFTs Trademark Infringement
Hermès, the company behind the famous Birkin line of handbags, has spoken out against a collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), MetaBirkins, calling them an infringement on Hermès' trademark.
"Hermès did not authorise nor consent to the commercialisation or creation of our Birkin bag by Mason Rothschild in the metaverse," a Hermès representative told the Financial Times, which first reported the news on December 10. "These NFTs infringe upon the intellectual property and trademark rights of Hermès and are an example of fake Hermès products in the metaverse."
A physical Birkin handbag can sell for between $9,000 and $500,000—or more. In 2012, auction house Sotheby's released a list of the top 6 most expensive Hermès Birkin Bags. A diamond-encrusted handbag, "Sac Bijou Birkin," was priced at $2 million.
The MetaBirkins NFT collection on OpenSea is the work of digital artist Mason Rothschild and features faux fur and colorful variants of the Birkin handbag. MetaBirkins is the second Birkin-themed collection by Rothschild. The first, called Baby Birkins, also featured a play on the Birkin handbag and was created in collaboration with Eric Ramirez.
Just sold for 9.9 ETH ($39,600.00) — moving closer to 150 ETH ($600,000) volume traded in just 48 hours. #MetaBirkins pic.twitter.com/t3JiOGQstB— MetaBirkins (@MetaBirkins) December 4, 2021
OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace by volume ($13.25B), has been hit with several complaints about counterfeit art on the site.
In an odd twist, Rothschild made a similar complaint in an interview with Yahoo Finance upon discovering that his designs were being copied and sold. "Before my collection dropped, there was a bunch of, like, counterfeit NFTs that weren't from my collection," Rothschild told the site in a December 6 interview. "But we had, like, $35,000, $40,000 in volume of people buying fake versions of my MetaBirkin."
Hermès says the issue of MetaBirkins is that it could confuse customers and have them think that MetaBirkins is an official Hermès release when it is not. The other problem is the money. The MetaBirkins collection has raked in 230 ETH, around $936,000, according to OpenSea. That is nearly $1 million (or 100 handbags) Hermès won't see outside of taking legal action.
The growing popularity of NFTs has resulted in other copyright disputes. Last month, Decrypt reported that film production company Miramax had sued Quentin Tarantino after the famed director announced a line of NFTs based on his 1994 classic, "Pulp Fiction." Miramax alleges that Tarantino doesn't have the rights to release the NFTs.Source