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Virtual Birkin Bags on Trial in Hermès Case Testing IP Rights

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A Laura Merkin Georgie ruffled metalic clutch.

Legal analysts say the trial represents an important early test of how a company can exercise its rights against virtual assets it didn’t authorize.

Credit: Bergdorf Goodman

French luxury brand Hermès is suing digital artist Mason Rothchild in a New York court to prevent him from selling nonfungible tokens (NFTs) of its Birkin handbags, claiming it violates trademark law and dilutes its brand.

Rothchild argues the First Amendment protects his "MetaBirkins" as artwork, while legal analysts say the case is an early test of exercising rights against unauthorized virtual assets.

In his legal declaration, the artist maintains the NFTs are imaginary bags rather than replicas, intended to artistically explore conspicuous consumption.

Hermès responded in court documents that Rothchild "seeks to make his fortune by swapping out Hermès' 'real-life' rights for 'virtual rights'.”

From The Wall Street Journal
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