Hermès in the Metaverse

Hermès made headlines last month after submitting three intent-to-use trademark applications. The company sought to register its name, as well as wordmarks Birkin and Kelly, across a handful of classic metaverse classes of goods and services. These classes are 9, 35, and 41 for the two renowned handbag style names, and 9, 35, 36, 41, and 42 for the Hermès wordmark.

​​ The Hermès applications are in line with a general pattern among brands, including mass-market companies and luxury goods sellers, who have submitted comparable registration requests with the USPTO and other trademark offices, frequently in an effort to take precautions in light of the metaverse’s impending rise and new technologies like NFTs. 

Companies are following the example set by companies like Nike by purposely casting a broad net, listing products and services that range from crypto payment technologies to entertainment services focused on the metaverse. By doing this, they are also hoping to cover all their bases for potential future ventures in this area, even if they are unsure of what those ventures will entail.

It is important to note that Hermès application contains Class 42, which points to “authentication, issuance and validation of digital certificates; user authentication services using technology for e-commerce transactions; [and] providing user authentication services using blockchain-based software technology for cryptocurrency transactions” as possible services that its name could be used on. Hermés, as well as other companies like Canada Goose, Dior, and Versace, go beyond the most typically cited NFT and meta verse classes (9,25, and 41) in their application. It is possible that these brands could make use of web3 technology to inform customers on their purchases and authentication rather than as part of the metaverse.

According to the leading NFT platform for fashion and luxury industries Arianee, “the most obvious use case of tokenization” are digital product passports that are connected to real-world products like luxury watches and handbags. These can offer “proof of ownership and authenticity by way of an NFT-centric watermarking system and follow the products throughout their lifetime.” This allows information such as repairs, modifications, and when a product is sold to be stored and could be used to help reduce any consumer concerns about a product’s authenticity. This in turn would allow the value of products to be more precisely determined from the perspective of a secondary market.

Another important thing to notice about Hermés application filing comes again from Class 42, “creating an online community for registered users to participate in discussions, form virtual communities, and engage in social networking in the field of digital assets.” Though it is not likely that Hermés will start a social media platform for its clients, they could use web3 technology to reinvent how they manage their relationships with their customers. This could possibly mean providing exclusive benefits or offers to consumers in the future.With web3 being in the early stages, there is no way to predict if luxury brands such as Hermés will adopt a combination of digital and physical goods tied to NFTs. It will be interesting to see as authentication will be much simpler using the metaverse.

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