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German Court Orders Amazon to Stop Advertising 'Birkenstok' Sandals

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Amazon is no longer permitted to lure in customers who think famous shoe and sandal manufacturer Birkenstock is spelled “Brikenstock,” “Birkenstok,” “Bierkenstock,” or the like in Germany following a court ruling, Reuters reported this week.

According to Reuters, Birkenstock convinced a Dusseldorf court that Amazon had placed ads for the misspelled variants of its name via Google AdWords. The shoemaker worried that customers could be lured to buy counterfeit versions of their products, which in turn could damage their brand.

Birkenstock has long feuded with Amazon over fake versions of its footwear. It began the process of pulling its products from Amazon’s U.S. store in July 2016 over claims the retailer was turning a blind eye to rampant counterfeiting, per CNBC, and it’s doing the same regarding Amazon’s European division beginning in 2018.


“For us, Amazon is complicit,” Birkenstock CEO Oliver Reichert told Der Spiegel, Reuters wrote.

According to Fortune, the court ruling isn’t final and it might not do much to fight piracy anyhow since the majority of counterfeiters don’t use comical misspellings to get listed on marketplaces, but simply copy the designs wholesale to an inferior standard. As Quartz noted, Birkenstock’s decision to remove products from Amazon has yet to result in the intended effect, since numerous resellers as well as Amazon subsidiary Zappos continue to list Birkenstock products.