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Hermès sues American artist for creating NFTs inspired by Birkin bags; latter responds

"I am not creating or selling fake Birkin bags," the artist explained.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
January 25, 2022 5:30:00 pm
non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Birkin bags, American artist selling NFTs, Hermès suing artist, Hermès bags, indian express newsThe artist has said he is not going to apologise for his creations. (Photo: Instagram/@metabirkins)

French luxury brand Hermès has decided to sue an American artist after digital versions inspired by its famous Birkin bags were seen online.

According to a report in The Guardian, the artist in question — Mason Rothschild — creates virtual art, which he then sells as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which are traded online, but whose ownership cannot be forged.

The report states that Rothschild has depicted many furry Birkin bags, calling them ‘MetaBirkins’ and selling them on websites that trade in NFTs. As such, the luxury brand has slammed the artist of profiting from its trademarks.

“Defendant’s MetaBirkins brand simply rips off Hermès’ famous Birkin trademark by adding the generic prefix ‘meta’ to the famous trademark Birkin,” it stated in a complaint filed in New York, as mentioned in the report.

 

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A post shared by MetaBirkins (@metabirkins)

On his part, Rothschild has responded in an online post, saying that as an artist, he will “not apologise for creating it”. Titled ‘An open letter to Hermès’, his post further read, “There are countless examples of artists who reference the world and the products and cultural artifacts in it. With that understanding, MetaBirkins is a playful abstraction of an existing fashion-culture landmark. I re-interpreted the form, materiality and name of a known cultural touchpoint… When it comes to art, selling my MetaBirkins as NFTs is akin to selling them as physical art prints… Art is art.”

 

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A post shared by MetaBirkins (@metabirkins)

A separate statement — “in response to: Hermès International, et al. v. Mason Rothschild” — read, “Hermès’ claims are groundless and we look forward to defeating those claims in court and helping set a precedent. I am not creating or selling fake Birkin bags. I’ve made artworks that depict imaginary, fur-covered Birkin bags.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by MetaBirkins (@metabirkins)

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