FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Did you mean Birkenstock?
A German court has ordered Amazon not to lure internet shoppers to its online marketplace when they mistakenly search for “Brikenstock”, “Birkenstok”, “Bierkenstock” and other variations in Google.
The ruling is a victory for the German sandal maker, whose relationship with Amazon has grown increasingly antagonistic. It convinced a district court in Duesseldorf that Amazon booked variations of “Birkenstock” as keywords through Google AdWords.
Any of those variations would produce search results for Birkenstock shoes sold on Amazon.com, the court said in a ruling dated Dec. 20. Birkenstock sought the injunction because it feared unsuspecting shoppers might buy low-quality counterfeits through Amazon that would erode its reputation.
Earlier this month, Birkenstock said that it would end the sale of its products over Amazon in Europe after Amazon “failed to proactively prevent” the sale of counterfeit Birkenstock goods. A year ago, Birkenstock ended its relationship with Amazon in the United States.
The injunction was first reported by the German magazine Der Spiegel on Friday.
“For us, Amazon is complicit,” Birkenstock’s chief Oliver Reichert told Der Spiegel.
A spokesman for Amazon declined to comment on the court proceedings but said: “Amazon prohibits the sale of fraudulent products.”
“We work diligently with vendors, sellers and rights owners to detect and prevent fraudulent products reaching our marketplace,” he added.
A spokesman for the court declined to comment.
Reporting by Tom Sims, Georgina Prodhan and Sabine Wollrab, editing by Larry King and Gareth Jones