nft game image banner for Hermès Enters the Metaverse, For Profit, Protection, or Both?

Hermès Enters the Metaverse, For Profit, Protection, or Both?

Posted September 13, 2022 7:58 pm
3 min
By Sossi

French luxury brand Hermès ventures into Web3 by filing a trademark application that covers the metaverse, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies. This move may also be an attempt to protect their brand, as we take into consideration the legal case of Hermès vs. Rothschild.

Hermès Sues Rothschild Over ”MetaBirkins”

hermes metabirkin NFT

Hermès is suing NFT artist, Mason Rothschild, who has created a line of digital handbags he calls “MetaBirkins” which has achieved enormous success. The complaint was first reported in The Fashion Law, revealing the submission of a 47-page document to the New York’s Southern District Court in January.

“In a 47-page legal complaint against Rothschild, Hermès alleged that the “MetaBirkins brand simply rips off Hermès’ famous Birkin bag trademark by adding the generic prefix ‘meta’ to the famous trademark Birkin,” thereby creating the illusion that the MetaBirkins brand was a part of the luxury Hermès’ Birkin brand.”

Business of Fashion mentioned on its website that Rothschild’s MetaBirkin bags, which are fur-covered bags shaped like the renowned Birkin bags of Hermès, first sold online in December for $42,000. In the physical world, on the other hand, a Hermès Berkin bag can be priced over $10,000 and they are in high demand because of their limited production.

Hermès Goes all-in into The Metaverse

Several months after filing the lawsuit, on August 26, 2022, Hermès files for a trademark covering downloadable software to view, store and manage virtual goods, digital collectibles, cryptocurrencies and NFTs for use in online worlds.

In a tweet on the 31st of August, it revealed the filing included trademarks for; “retail store services featuring virtual goods” as well as fashion and trade shows in “online virtual, augmented or mixed reality environments” and for “providing an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of virtual goods.”

Luxury Brands Generate Big Returns in NFT Sales

Hermès’s move into the metaverse follows a long list of luxury brands who have already brought their presence into this new virtual world. During March of this year, Decentraland  held its first Metaverse Fashion Week, a four-day digital fashion event featuring wearables on virtual runways. A host of luxury brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, Estée Lauder, and Elie Saab made their appearance.

It is worth mentioning that in August of this year, data from Dune Analytics, compiled by blockchain researcher Noah Levine, revealed that leading brands including Nike, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Adidas, and Tiffany & Co. had amassed a combined $260 million worth of sales from NFTs.

Metaverse Fashion Week

Luxury Brands are Advised to Seek Legal Protection for Their Brands

As luxury brands are swamping the metaverse at an accelerated pace, their sales in NFTs have skyrocketed in a short time; bearing in mind that NFTs entered the mainstream in 2021. However, this newly created world of the metaverse has not been without its legal complications as we have seen in the case of Hermès vs “Metabrikins”. Finally, considering certain vagueness in the legal aspect and the potential risks arising from dealings in the metaverse, trademark offices are urging brands to consider expanded trademark filings, covering digital products and NFTs, in particular.

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