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 U.S.
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 the court declined to comment. Amazon didn’t immediately respond to requests to comment by phone and email at its Munich office.
Reporting by Tom Sims, Georgina Prodhan and Sabine Wollrab, editing by Larry King