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We’ve all seen street vendors selling Rolex watches or Coach handbags. You might have even thought about buying one. It’s a lot cheaper and it looks pretty good … Who will know the difference?
But buying fake luxury goods is so the last century. Today, these dilemmas are decidedly more digital. For example, Hermes, the designer bag brand, accuses an NFT designer of stealing their designs for digital handbags. And this same NFT creator sees cheaper counterfeit versions of his products sold in an online marketplace. Do you already feel old?
Help, this man steals my (computerized) bag!
Let’s clear it up, once again. In 1984, Hermes created the Birkin bag, a limited line of designer handbags that sometimes sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today, NFT creator Mason Rothschild sells the MetaBirkins, a unique digital bag for use in the Metaverse he calls “a tribute to Hermes’ most famous handbag.” Its limited stock of 100 MetaBirkins is selling on the OpenSea online marketplace for around 5.9 units of Ethereum cryptocurrency, or around $ 24,000. Also for sale on OpenSea: Rothschild’s MetaBirkins fakes, which, yes, are already digital fakes, or, uh, tributes to the original Hermes bag.
Today, Hermes accuses Rothschild of intellectual property theft, colliding the burgeoning and decentralized world of NFTs and blockchain with the reality of real-world copyright and trademark rights:
- “Hermès has neither authorized nor consented to the marketing or creation of our Birkin bag,” Hermes said in a statement. “These NFTs infringe the intellectual property and trademark rights of Hermes and are an example of bogus Hermes products in the metaverse.”
- “Disputes like this reflect the ‘Wild West’ nature of NFT collections at this time,” said Kostyantyn Lobov, partner of Harbottle & Lewis. Financial Time.
No refund, no return: Rothschild has yet to comment publicly on Hermes’ accusations against him. But he felt compelled to expose NFT’s counterfeits of his own products, which have earned crooks around $ 35,000 so far. “The people who bought these [knockoff MetaBirkins], they can’t get that money back, ”Rothschild told the Financial Times, referring to the final nature of all sales of blockchain transactions. Ironic, isn’t it, how the shoe (digital, non-fungible) is now on the other foot.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.