This guide has been written to explain how to spot unauthorised sellers and to tell you more abut how misuse of the Birkenstock name and copying of the products can affect you as a consumer.
There are many Birkenstock suppliers on eBay - however it is important to understand that not all of these companies are legitimate sellers and that it might affect your rights as a consumer if you have a problem, but you also run the risk of purchasing fake goods. The Natural Shoe Store and Birkenstock UK can not accept returns purchased through another company.
The Birkenstock family of Bad Honnef, Germany, has been caring for feet since 1774. During the last decade of the 19th century, Konrad Birkenstock designed the first flexible arch support that mirrored the shape of the foot. In 1965, Karl Birkenstock took his family's foot bed concept a step further by introducing it as a sandal to the German market.
Central Trade ltd. has been in the shoe business for over 30 years and is the exclusive distributor of Birkenstock sandals, shoes, clogs and other footwear all over Britain. The Natural Shoe Store is the retail arm of the same company. Birkenstock as a brand in the UK has gained enormous popularity and hasgrown over the years to become a mainstream brand with widespread loyalty. Birkenstock owns a number of "intellectual property" rights, including registered trademarks and registered designs. These can only be used by Birkenstock or its licensees, and are needed to protect Birkenstock's products from unlawful copying. It is illegal to use Birkenstock's trademark (or anything similar to it) or infringe its design rights without Birkenstock's authority. In certain circumstances the deliberate use of a registered trademark may be classified as counterfeiting. This is a criminal offence, and criminal proceedings can be brought by the Police or Trading Standards Officers. Civil proceedings can also be brought by the trademark and design right owner, and this could result in any person found to be infringing Birkenstock's trademark and design rights having to pay legal costs and damages.
Central Trade is a member of the eBay VeRO (Verified Rights Owners's) programme and has produced this page to inform eBay users about auctions that contravene eBay's programme or Birkenstock's trademark and design rights.
Birkenstock and Central trade monitor eBay and the Internet on a daily basis. Unfortunately, potentially counterfeit and/or infringing footwear are regularly offered for sale by auction . It is unlawful to do so. Any users of eBay carrying on such wrongful activities will be pursued via the courts.
Indicators of potentially infringing items include the following descriptions and key phrases:
Similar to Birkenstock
X's Birkenstock sandal
Similar 2/to Birkenstock
Authenticity not guaranteed
Authenticity not warranted our implied
Cannot guarantee authority
No guarantees or warranties
Regrettably, any guarantee of authenticity from a seller is of itself no reliable assurance for items sold in their original boxes, with the original 'Made in Germany' tags attached. The tag consists of a comprehensive multicoloured booklet with information about Birkenstock in English and German.It is also worthwhile to note that it is against eBay rules and unlawful to sell items of different brands using the Birkenstock brand names in the listing titles.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Q. Why was my auction ended or suspended?
A. Birkenstock and Central Trade polices eBay and the Internet daily and immediately notifies eBay of any auctions attempting to sell items that infringe Birkenstock's intellectual property rights. Your auction was probably ended or suspended because Birkenstock and Central Trade genuinely believed it violated eBay's VeRO programme as the merchandise you had on offer appeared to be counterfeit and/or otherwise infringed Birkenstock's rights and is thus unlawful.
Q. Why did eBay allow me to post my auction if it unlawful?
A. We understand from eBay that it is impractical to comprehensively pre-screen their auctions. Thus some infringing items are listed, and can only be discovered and removed after the listing.
Q. Why was my auction removed when I can see others that may also infringe Birkenstock's intellectual property rights?
A. We do our best to ensure that all such auctions are taken off eBay at the earliest opportunity, but sometimes it is not possible to address every counterfeit and/or unauthorised item before it sells. If Birkenstock and Central trade do not proceed against an infringing auction, this does not mean that it is not breaking the law.
Q. Does Birkenstock and Central Trade really care if just one single unauthorised item is sold?
A. YES! Absolutely. A great deal of time and money has been spent in building up Birkenstock's national and international reputation in producing distinctive Birkenstock footwear of the highest quality. Counterfeits or copies are inevitably poor, shoddy and inferior and this causes extensive damage to Birkenstock's image. Birkenstock will not tolerate anyone piggybacking off its well earned reputation.
Q. I think that the item I offered is geniune Birkenstock and not an imitation. How can I tell if it really real?
A. The only way to be absolutely sure that the item is a geniune Birkenstock is to buy from authorised Birkenstock dealers. If your auction was ended or suspended we are satisfied that the item you were offering for sale was an imitation of counterfeit product. In some cases we appreciate that you may not have realised that you were selling fake goods, and that someone else may have deceived you.
Q. Can I use Birkenstock's name and/or logo for the purposes of my auction even if I am not selling Birkenstock footwear? Or for making something at home?
A. No is the answer to both questions, to do so would deceive others when there is no legitimate connection between what you are selling and use of the Birkenstock trade mark. Nor are you permitted to reproduce, display or otherwise use our name or logo such as cutting and pasting images onto your auction title or description. Only Birkenstock and its authorised users may do so. This includes making anything at home.
Q. I think that my goods reported by Birkenstock to be imitation are nevertheless genuine. What rights do I have and how can I relist these goods for auction?
A. If you do beleive a mistake has been made, you should email the trademark department on firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include:
1. Your eBay user ID
2. The auction number
3. The precise title and description used in the auction
4. Any pictures or other reproductions of the items listed in the ended/suspended auction - This is very important as our trademark team can only use the pictures to confirm the product's authenticity.
If we are satisfied that your auction was erroneously reported, we will email eBay asking them to restore your auction. However, the ultimate decision on whether or not to do so rests with eBay.
If you are aware of anyone offering for sale any footwear that infringes Birkenstock's intellectual property rights, please contact us as above.