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Birkenstock Cites Counterfeits as It Exits Amazon

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Amazon logoFashion brand Birkenstock will no longer sell through Amazon in Europe citing counterfeits, it announced Monday. The shoemaker already exited Amazon’s US marketplace over similar concerns.

The timing may be related to regulations: in Germany, courts had previously forced some brands to allow the sale of their goods on sites like Amazon and eBay, but the European Court of Justice ruled last week that luxury brands are allowed to block sales of their goods online if they feel it damages their image. (EU judgments apply to all member nations.)

Meanwhile Amazon has expanded the number of its private label brands, and in September, it launched its own fashion brand called Find which it promoted aggressively across Europe on its own website and through Instagram, Facebook and street billboards.

In Monday’s announcement, Birkenstock said consumers are being misled by counterfeit products offered for sale on Amazon marketplace, and said it would terminate its relations with Amazon EU effective January 1, 2018.

Press release follows:

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BIRKENSTOCK GmbH & Co. KG and its affiliated companies are terminating their business relations with Amazon EU S.à.r.l. with effect from January 1, 2018. On this date, BIRKENSTOCK will completely discontinue direct deliveries provided by the US online retailer’s Luxembourg-based European subsidiary. This decision applies to the full BIRKENSTOCK product range.

The long-standing family-owned enterprise asserts a claim against the world’s largest online retailer that there have been a series of violations of the law on the Marketplace platform operated by Amazon which the platform operator has failed to prevent of its own accord. On a number of occasions, BIRKENSTOCK lodged a complaint that counterfeit products of poor quality which infringed BIRKENSTOCK’s trademark rights and misled the consumers regarding the origins of goods were being made available on the platform.

Putting the issue of legal obligations aside, BIRKENSTOCK is of the opinion that an integral part of a trusting business relationship is that, upon being first notified as the operator of the Marketplace platform of such a breach of the law, Amazon would, of its own accord, do everything within its power to prevent this type of and similar infringements. To this day, no binding statement has been made to the effect that no more counterfeit BIRKENSTOCK products would be offered for sale through the platform. Instead, there were further legal violations of a different nature in recent months which Amazon failed to proactively prevent.

The breakdown in trust has prompted BIRKENSTOCK to now terminate its business relations with the online retailer in Europe, too. In January of this year, BIRKENSTOCK discontinued the deliveries in the United States which were handled by Amazon USA following a series of similar incidents there.

SOURCE: Birkenstock Press Release

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.