June 6, 2024
Brian Winterfeldt

Birkin Bag Shoppers Expand Antitrust Lawsuit Against Hermès

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A lawsuit against French luxury house Hermès by U.S. consumers has expanded, accusing the company of requiring customers to spend thousands on other products before being allowed to buy a Birkin bag. Winterfeldt IP Group had previously reported on this lawsuit here: https://www.winterfeldt.law/publications/hermes-birkin-handbag-controversy

A third plaintiff has joined the proposed class action in San Francisco federal court, originally filed in March. The lawsuit claims Hermès only offers Birkin bags, which can cost thousands and are handmade, to customers with a "sufficient purchase history." The amended complaint added details about the luxury handbag market to counter Hermès’ initial dismissal arguments. It alleges the Birkin bag’s retail price is misleading, masking a system where consumers must buy other Hermès products to qualify for a Birkin.

Hermès, represented by Latham & Watkins, has called the lawsuit “far-fetched,” stating customers without a purchase history can still buy a Birkin and arguing such requirements wouldn’t be illegal.The plaintiffs argue that due to the Birkin bag’s exclusivity and limited availability, there are no perfect substitutes from other brands like Gucci, Prada, or Louis Vuitton. They also referenced Hermès’ 2022 trademark lawsuit statements, highlighting the Birkin’s scarcity and status as an investment.

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