Hermes, the French luxury fashion brand is suing Mason Rothschild, an American digital artist who is also the creator of the MetaBirkins series of NFTs. NFTs have rocketed to immense popularity over the past few months with more and more celebrities joining the NFT bandwagon. In the crypto world, NFTs have evolved to become a face of growth. However, they are also followed by a looming shadow of criticisms and skepticism that put a huge question mark over their uniqueness and real value. The said lawsuit has brought this debate to the spotlight yet again. Read along to know more about the lawsuit.
The What and Why
‘Birkin’ is a trademark tote bag that was introduced by Hermes in the 1980s. The accusation against Rothschild is that he is drawing profits from this very trademark. To add clarity to the matter, Rothschild hasn’t created the actual ‘Birkin’ bags rather he took inspiration from the design to create digital art which he named ‘MetaBirkins.’ It basically is a series of colorful images of the totes. These were later sold by him as NFT online. It cannot be denied that the line between inspiration and plagiarism is rather thin, and one has to be extremely careful while treading that line. The question here is whether Rothschild actually faltered while trying to maintain the balance.
As per the National Law Review, a lawsuit has been filed by Hermes International and Hermes of Paris for trademark infringement and trademark dilution. In the complaint, Hermes has given a detailed explanation for the origin and fame of the Birkin bag. According to the NLR, the brand is in possession of a US trademark for the word “Birkin.” It is the ownership of these trademark rights which has led the brand to file a lawsuit against the digital artist for trademark infringement, stating that it is a case of “unfair competition.” In addition to this, the complaint filed also contains a cybersquatting claim.
However, it seems like Rothschild is absolutely unaffected by the lawsuit and is determined to fight his way through the lawsuit. He made an announcement via his Instagram account that he is ready to put up a fight. Let us take a look at the statement he posted online,
“I am not creating or selling fake Birkins bags. I have made artworks that depict imaginary, fur-covered Birkin bags.”
Whether the lawsuit will ultimately end up in favor of Hermes or Rothschild remains to be seen.