Herms is suing NFT creator Mason Rothschild, who has found viral success marketing a range of digital assets he calls MetaBirkins.
The French luxury house dropped its famously low-key stance in order to draw the guns on Rothschild in a 47-page lawsuit filed in New York’s Southern District Court on Friday, calling the designer a digital speculator seeking to enrich himself. quickly.
the complaint, which was first reported on The law of fashion, raises questions about how trademark protections for real-world objects will be applied in the digital realm as commercial activity heats up in the metaverse. Brands such as Balenciaga and Nike are experimenting with virtual fashion. Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs (unique digital assets authenticated using blockchain technology), representing fashion items have sold for millions in recent months.
The Birkin’s Rothschild digital dupes, which feature fur-covered bags in the shape of the iconic bags, first sold online in December for $42,000. The bags sell for over $10,000 in the physical world and are particularly coveted in the resale market due to their limited production.
Weeks later, NFT exchange OpenSea removed the MetaBirkins from its online exchange in response to a cease-and-desist letter from Herms, but Rothschild continued to trade them on its website, linking visitors to other exchanges where they remain available to buy and sell.
Rothschild complaints that as an artist his activities are protected by the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of expression, calling the MetaBirkins a playful abstraction of an existing landmark of fashion culture. Herms rejected this interpretation.
Rothschild simply rips off the famous Herms Birkin brand by adding the meta generic prefix, Herms’ attorney alleged in the lawsuit. There is no doubt that this success stems from its confusing and dilutive use of famous Hermès brands, the company added.
The company argues that without the lawsuit, MetaBirkins could ultimately prevent Herms from offering products and services on virtual marketplaces that are uniquely associated with Herms and meet Herms quality standards. Herms wants the court to compel Rothschild to cease operations, assign the MetaBirkins.com domain name to Herms, and pay damages, including its profits from the sale of the digital assets.
Although a digital image linked to an NFT may reflect some artistic creativity, just as a T-shirt or greeting card may reflect some artistic creativity, artist title does not convey a license to use an equivalent of famous Birkin brand in a manner calculated to mislead consumers and undermine that brand’s ability to identify Herms as the sole source for products sold under the Birkin brand, the company said.
Rothschild did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
How to Market an NFT
Brands will need to figure out how to reach a new type of audience in order to make their digital assets stand out.
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