Art or rip-off? Real lawsuit over virtual Hermes Birkin bags sold as NFTs, Latest World News - The New Paper
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Art or rip-off? Real lawsuit over virtual Hermes Birkin bags sold as NFTs

PARIS (AFP) - French luxury group Hermes has started legal proceedings against a US artist over virtual versions of its iconic Birkin bags.

Mason Rothschild creates digital art that he sells as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which can be traded online.

These have transformed digital items ranging from illustrations to memes into virtual collectors' items.

He named the works depicting fanciful furry Birkin bags "MetaBirkins" and sold them on websites dedicated to selling NFTs.

Hermes accused Rothschild of trying to profit from its trademarks.

"Defendant's MetaBirkins brand simply rips off Hermes' famous Birkin trademark by adding the generic prefix 'meta' to the famous trademark Birkin," it said in its complaint filed on Jan 14 in New York.

But Rothschild said in an online post that he wasn't creating or selling fake Birkin bags.

"I've made art works that depict imaginary, fur-covered Birkin bags," he said, adding that as art it was freedom of expression protected by the US constitution.

"The fact that I sell the art using NFTs doesn't change the fact that it's art," he said.

Hermes declined to comment on the legal case under way.

NFT/NON-FUNGIBLE TOKENARTISTSCOPYRIGHT/INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY