In a globalized economy with diverse markets, digital communication, cross-border online trade and often confusing supply chains, product and brand piracy is a lucrative billion-dollar business. As far as plagiarism is concerned, creativity is limited to brazen copying. It has been proven that extremely low-quality counterfeits are being offered more and more frequently, and these pose enormous safety risks. Plagiarism and counterfeiting, according to the “Plagiarius” campaign, which has been in existence since 1977, “are therefore neither complimentary nor harmless trivial offenses. They are ruthless, destroy jobs and mean stagnation instead of diversity and progress. The damage they cause to buyers and innovative manufacturers is massive.” At the same time, he said, counterfeits are “the opposite of a status symbol.” It is therefore “the (personal) responsibility of every consumer to consciously and enthusiastically opt for the original and thus deprive counterfeiters of the basis for their business”.
The award says nothing about whether the counterfeit product is legal or illegal in the legal sense. Rather, the aim of the campaign is “to raise public awareness of the questionable – and in some cases criminal – business methods of product and brand pirates, and to sensitize industry, politicians and consumers to the extent, damage and risks of the problem.” The “Plagiarius” campaign has just awarded its negative prize for the 47th time (link in German). The Plagiarius trophy is a black dwarf with that golden nose that unimaginative copyists earn at the expense of creative and innovative companies.
The 1st prize was awarded to the modular wall shelf system “Link”. While the original, created by designer Jörg Höltje and distributed by his label Studio Hausen, consists of steel brackets in which boards seem to float, a close look at the same shelf from a company calling itself Deutscher Möbel-Filialist reveals clear differences in quality. While Höltje uses FSC-certified solid wood and the steel brackets are powder-coated to ensure durability, the cheap version resorts to low-quality tropical mango wood and chooses a metal that warps. The furniture retailer was surprisingly forthcoming, saying it had stopped sales, destroyed leftover stock and cited sales figures.
The 2nd prize went to the “Club No. 6 Superglas 300ml” glass. While the “Club Superglas” series from koziol uses a high-tech material that combines the properties of glass (transparency, brilliance and light refraction) with the advantages of plastic (unbreakability, insulating properties, lightness and individual colorability), is 100% recyclable and 100% Made in Germany, the shape, concept and exclusive facet design of the plagiarism were adopted almost 1:1, with a simpler processing quality, lower stability and the typical plastic matt look. Koziol has protected its design in the EU. Misleadingly, the imitator advertises with the reference “patented”. The plagiarism of the “Mercedes-Benz vehicle diagnosis device “XENTRY Diagnosis” for the “on-board diagnosis” was awarded the 3rd prize.
The special prize “Identity theft” went to Chu Chaofeng from Shanghai for the forgery of the original websites www.wika.com / www.wika.cn by the fake website wika-wika.cn. The “Laziest Serial Offender” award went to Fath GmbH from Germany for components (angles, connectors, etc.) for factory equipment, machinery and plant. And the special “Counterfeit” prize was awarded for a counterfeit SD card “Volkswagen Navigation AS (V16)”.
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