Hermès is not very excited about the future of art.
The luxury group has taken legal action in New York against an artist who created NFTs depicting fur bags heavily inspired by the brand's famous bag, the Birkin.
Mason Rothschild first created, with artist Eric Ramirez, a "Non-Fungible Token" (NFT), a "digital object" whose ownership is traceable, which they called "Baby Birkin", already inspired by the flagship bag from Hermès.
Faced with the sales success of this first NFT, Mason Rothschild created a hundred “MetaBirkins” which he put on sale in cryptocurrency for the equivalent of a few thousand euros.
A Birkin bag, "a precious commodity in the real world"
In the civil complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan (New York), Hermès accuses Mason Rothschild of being a “digital speculator seeking to get rich quickly by appropriating the MetaBirkin brand” for the sale of NFT.
"The MetaBirkin brand simply appropriates the famous name of the Hermès brand, the Birkin, by adding the meta prefix", it is added.
The artist "openly acknowledged that he had chosen to sell his NFTs in the name of Metabirkins because a Birkin handbag is a precious commodity in the real world", argues the luxury group in particular.
Birkin bags, the saddler-leather goods maker's flagship products inspired by the English singer and actress, are sold in stores for several thousand euros.
The artist does not say he is “not intimidated”
The Metabirkins name, “brought him financial success within weeks.
There is no doubt that this success stems from a confused use of the Hermès brand”, also argues the saddler-leather maker.
"Hermès' claims are baseless," the artist replied on social media.
“I do not create or sell fake Birkin bags.
I've done artwork that depicts imaginary Birkin bags covered in fur,” he adds, referring to Andy Warhol and his famous canvases of Campbell's soup cans.
“The fact that I sell art using NFTs does not change the fact that it is art,” he adds before explaining that he wanted to discuss with the luxury brand.
“I hope Hermès understands that I won't be intimidated,” he concludes.
Contacted by AFP, Hermès said it would not comment on ongoing court cases.
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