We’ve all seen street vendors selling knockoff Rolex watches or Coach handbags. You may even have thought about buying one. It’s much cheaper and it looks pretty good… Who will know the difference?
But buying fake luxuries 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 his designs for digital handbags. And this same NFT creator sees cheaper imitated versions of his products sold on an online marketplace. Do you feel old?
Help, this man is stealing my (computerized) purse!
Let’s clear things up, one more time. In 1984, Hermès created the Birkin bag, a limited line of designer handbags that sometimes resold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today, NFT creator Mason Rothschild is selling the MetaBirkins, a unique digital bag for use in the Metaverse that he calls “a tribute to Hermès’ most famous handbag.” Its limited stock of 100 MetaBirkins is selling on the OpenSea online marketplace for around 5.9 Ethereum cryptocurrency units, or around $24,000. Also for sale on OpenSea: counterfeit versions of Rothschild’s MetaBirkins, which, yes, are already digital forgeries, or, uh, homages to the original bag from Hermès.
Today, Hermès accuses Rothschild of intellectual property theft, confronting the burgeoning, decentralized world of NFTs and blockchain with the reality of real-world copyrights and trademarks:
- “Hermès has neither authorized nor consented to the marketing or creation of our Birkin bag,” Hermès said in a statement. “These NFTs infringe the intellectual property and trademark rights of Hermès and are an example of fake Hermès products in the metaverse.”
- “Disputes like this reflect the ‘wild west’ nature of NFT collections right now,” said Harbottle & Lewis partner Kostyantyn Lobov. FinancialTimes.
No Refunds, No Returns: Rothschild has yet to publicly comment on the Hermès accusations against him. But he felt compelled to expose NFT counterfeits of his own products, which have so far earned scammers around $35,000. “People who bought these [knockoff MetaBirkins]they can’t get that money back,” Rothschild told the Financial Times, referring to the final nature of blockchain transactions. Ironic, isn’t it, how the (digital, non-fungible) shoe is now on the market. other foot.