Inside the outdoor industry

Court win for Ortlieb in Amazon spat

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A court case concerning the placement of Google Ads by Amazon with Ortlieb as the only listed brand name has concluded in favour of Ortlieb.

The ruling confirmed Ortlieb’s argument that the use of Google Ads for a general offer of bicycle bags using Ortlieb as the only listed brand name violated its trademark and was also contrary to general competition law.

The practice also contradicts the transparency requirement under EU law for online trading which prohibits the tacit display of offers from other brands in search engine results in a trademark search. The court’s decision not only strengthens the Ortlieb’s strategy as well as clearly strengthening brands in general, it’s also in-line with developments at EU level to increasingly define trademark protection as an important part of consumer protection.

In a statement, Ortlieb said: “At a time when platforms such as Amazon strategically promote the exchangeability of brands; brand sovereignty and associated brand identity is more important than ever. If this is lost then medium sized, family owned businesses such as Ortlieb will no longer be able to make the investments needed to maintain brand status and to guarantee the continued assurance of quality that comes with the Made in Germany endorsement. The end consumer would also feel negative effects through shrinking brand diversity and in terms of antitrust law a questionable concentration of a few large brands.

“Furthermore, the court’s ruling of the 25th July means the earlier assessment by the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) of third party offers within Amazon’s internal search engine is being placed in a new light. In our opinion it makes no difference to the consumer whether he or she clicks on a Google Ad – or directly enters the search command “ORTLIEB” – is then offered falsely attributed third party products.”

 

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