Mason Rothschild had no idea he was sitting on a “goldmine” when he started creating digital versions of the iconic Hermès Birkin handbag and selling these as NFTs. Though they only garnered a modest amount of attention at first, the current NFT craze has turned Rothschild’s creations into some of the most valuable assets in the digital world. As more and more people begin to invest in NFTs, Mason Rothschild may soon become one of the richest people in the world.
One of the most high-profile legal cases in recent years has been between luxury French brand Hermès and British investment bank Rothschild over a project undertaken by the latter. The case centres around a creative art collective called Mute, which used images of real-world objects as inspiration for their own works. Hermès claimed that certain elements of Mute’s creations were intellectual property belonging to them, and as such sued the collective for copyright infringement. If this verdict is upheld, it could have wide-reaching implications for creators whose works are inspired by protected real-world goods – meaning that any projects based on these materials would likely be at risk of litigation from copyright holders.
While some see NFTs as works of art with constitutional protections, others believe trademarks and consumer product laws should be used to protect brands from copycats. This debate is likely to continue as more companies adopt NFTs.
Cartier, Hermes, and Gucci alike offer physical products that can be very expensive. Birkin bags, made by Hermès, are often priced at $12,000 or more. However, some Birkins have sold for as much as $2 million at auction. Unlike cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum which are traded on decentralized exchanges and have no set value or intrinsic value outside of the marketability of the specific token itself (i.e., a Bitcoin is worth more than a Bitcoin Cash), Birkin bags possess unique physical traits that allow them to command high prices on the open market. For example, a digital Birkin bag features shaggy green fur that is not typically found in other fabrics. This unique feature contributes to its high resale value when it is no longer needed or desired by its original owner.
One of the central arguments in favor of blockchain technology is its potential to eliminate fraud and confusion. In the case of relative brand Hermès vs. Rothschilds, one expert witness argued that the use of NFTs confused buyers, some of whom believed that the goods were affiliated with the brand. Rothschild’s camp countered this claim by arguing that confusion was minimal at best. Ultimately, it remains to be seen how widespread blockchain technology will become in relation to legal proceedings such as this one – but given its potential to streamline processes and reduce fraud and confusion, it has a long way to go before being fully adopted.
The trial between Hermès and Rothschild has been difficult to follow due to the heavy French legal jargon, but it appears that Hermes is concerned about how its rival’s MetaBirkins project will impact its own plans. While the MetaBirkins are not actually produced by Hermès, the company fears that people will think of it as a indirect competitor. Nicolas Martin, Hermès’ general counsel, testified on this issue during the trial and said that if they want their bags to be taken seriously in the virtual world they will have to develop their own projects rather than steal ideas from their rivals. This trial is likely only going to serve to further increase competition between these two luxury brands and drive prices down for all items in their respective lines.
The text messages that the lawyers for Hermès cited show that Rothschild wanted to create a similar exclusivity and demand for the famous handbag as LV. The lawyers said that this shows that Rothschild was attempting to illegally copy the design of the handbag and in doing so, infringe on LV’s copyright.
In spite of their rarity and high price tags, Birkin bags continue to be coveted by fashionistas and luxury shoppers alike. The bag’s delicate, intricate embroidery and pink color are hallmarks of elegance that set it apart from other handbags on the market. Despite the time and effort involved in making a Birkin bag by hand, even as the number of these bags on the market remains relatively steady, they remain some of the most prized possessions in fashion.
It appears that the company intended to create 1,000 MetaBirkins however only released 100 due to high demand. Due to this limited release, people are eager to get their hands on these new designer bottles. Whether or not this limited release will cause MetaBirk prices to go up remains to be seen, but for now those interested can pick them
Hermès has long been a go-to brand for inspiring artists. Indeed, the company has often provided a platform for emerging talent, from Henri Matisse to Yves Saint Laurent. However, not all artists are as easily able to scale their work as Rothschild. In recent years, there has been a surge in sales of pieces inspired by Hermès products, most notably Birkin bags. While some—like the Kelly-green piece currently on sale at 1st Dibs—are accessible to more average consumers, others, like pink and silver variations of the same bag are available only through high-end consignment sites like 1st Dibs.