Intellectual property has always been the main issue when it comes to NFTs. And it really didn’t take long for the metaverse to suffer from its first real-life scandal as French luxury label Hermes, has recently made headlines for suing an NFT creator over the digital rendition of the iconic Birkin bag.
The line first came to life in 1984 and was named after the British actress Jane Birkin. It rapidly grew into a sign of wealth due to its rareness and super-high quality of production. Mainly available through re-sell and in very limited quantities, entrepreneur Mason Rothschild decided to bring the hype over to the digital world in NFT form, which is something that Hermes is clearly not too happy about.
In a 47-page complaint, the fashion house claimed that Rothschild’s business could “ultimately preempt Hermès’ ability to offer products and services in virtual marketplaces that are uniquely associated with Hermès and meet Hermès’ quality standards”. They also have communicated that the creator is to cease all activities and pay damage for the troubles caused. So far, OpenSea is the only one to have removed the digital handbags from their website although they are still available through other specialised NFT platforms online.
On Monday evening, the artist posted a statement across his social media platforms. In a few paragraphs, Mason reveals not having received a copy of the original complaint while also calling Hermes’ claims “groundless” and that he is not “intimidated” by the brand’s recourse to legal action. He continues saying that he has “the right to use the term “Metabirkins” to describe truthfully what that art depicts” and that it is clear to him that Hermes “don’t understand what an NFT is, or what NFTs do”.
A statement in response to: Hermès International, et al. v. Mason Rothschild. pic.twitter.com/7yKGMNJotS
— Mason Rothschild (@MasonRothschild) January 17, 2022
With over 250ETH traded so far going, it’s clear that Rothschild’s latest venture has been overly profitable and rewarding since he auctioned his first release back in December. While laws and regulations regarding intellectual property in the digital world are still unclear, it’s worth wondering how companies will halt other creators from trying their luck at being the architects of the virtual luxury industry in the near future.