Birkenstock USA announced this week that it has decided to stop selling in the Amazon.com marketplace because of what it believes is the company’s failure to provide effective remedies to stop counterfeit sales of Birkenstock branded products on its site.
Birkenstock USA’s CEO, Mr. David Kahan, wrote a letter to its retail partners that CNBC announced. Mr. Kahan stated in that letter:
“The Amazon marketplace, which operates as an ‘open market’, creates an environment where we experience unacceptable business practices which we believe jeopardise our brand, “[…] and that “[p]olicing this activity internally and in partnership with Amazon.com has proven impossible.”
Birkstenstock USA will stop selling on Amazon.com as of January 1, 2017 according to Mr. Kahan. Although the company admits that this action may not stop the sale of counterfeit products it will make ensure that any sales of fake products cannot be attributed to the company. On this point Mr. Kahan stated that:
“[b]y taking this course of action, we are, in effect, leaving the Amazon marketplace to counterfeiters, fake suppliers and unauthorised sellers with whom we have no relationships.”
This development is one that brand owners grappling with the same online counterfeiting problems will surely take stock of. While Amazon.com and similar sites like Ali Baba and Taobao.com provide convenience, the ease by which counterfeiters can sell fake goods has unsettled many brand owners and created increased tensions between these sites and brand owners. In fact, there was a recent tense meeting and exchange (according to a July 8, 2016 Yahoo! Finance article) between Amazon.com and 300 of its top marketplace sellers.
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