A German court has ruled that Amazon may not lure customers to its site when they misspell “Birkenstock,” Reuters reports. The German shoemaker’s relationship with Amazon has been rocky lately, and the recent court ruling is not likely to help matters. Birkenstock told a court in Dusseldorf that Amazon used Google Adwords to draw customers by booking variations on “Birkenstock.”
Any of the brand name’s several misspellings could draw customers to Amazon’s storefront, the court stated. Birkenstock requested an injunction due to fears that customers would unknowingly buy cheaply-made Birkenstock knockoffs, which could damage the company’s reputation.
In December, Birkenstock said that it would stop selling its shoes through Amazon’s European site because the online retailer “failed to proactively prevent” the sale of knock-off Birkenstock shoes. The German company cut ties with Amazon’s American site last year.
The story was first reported by the German magazine Der Spiegel, which reported that Birkenstock’s Oliver Reichert said that Amazon was “complicit.”
For its part, Amazon said that the company always worked to ensure that fraudulent products were not sold on its website.
“We work diligently with vendors, sellers and rights owners to detect and prevent fraudulent products reaching our marketplace,” said an Amazon spokesperson.
Amazon’s disagreement with Birkenstock reflects one of the company’s few defeats in 2017. For the most part, Amazon has had a good year with the purchase of Whole Foods giving it a foothold in the physical grocery market. On the digital front, Amazon Prime membership is on the upswing. Additionally, the company’s hardware division has done well with its line of affordable Fire tablets and Amazon Echo.
As a whole, the fashion world has been one area in which Amazon has struggled, as many peoples simply prefer to see their clothes in person before they buy them. However, the company did recently reach a deal with Nike which would see the company sell its products directly on Amazon’s site. Part of Nike’s motivation for the deal was to help Amazon deal with knock-offs and copycats.
For now, however, it appears shoppers will have to look elsewhere for their Birkenstocks.
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