Plagiarius Award Winners 2022
Photo Series

Product and brand piracy - a serious threat to the economy and consumers

Product and brand piracy is a lucrative business worth billions. It is proven that increasingly extremely low-quality counterfeits are being offered, that pose enormous safety risks. Clearly, plagiarisms and counterfeits are neither a compliment nor harmless trivialities. They are ruthless, destroy jobs and mean stagnation instead of diversity and progress. The damage caused by counterfeits to buyers and innovative manufacturers is massive. The explosive spread of product and brand piracy is encouraged by globalisation, online trade & digital communication - and by the specific demand of gullible (online) bargain hunters. Fact is, counterfeits are the opposite of a status symbol. It is the (personal) responsibility of every consumer to consciously and enthusiastically choose the original and thus deprive the counterfeiters of their basis for business.

Negative Award “Plagiarius”:
Against brazen theft of ideas - For innovation and fair competition

Since 1977, Aktion Plagiarius is annually awarding its dreaded negative award "Plagiarius" to manufacturers and traders of particularly brazen plagiarisms and counterfeits. The "Plagiarius" award says nothing about whether the imitated product is legally permitted or illegal.

The aim of the Plagiarius campaign is rather to raise public awareness of the questionable - and sometimes criminal - business methods of product and brand pirates and to inform industry, politics and consumers about the extent, damage and risks of the problem.

Trophy is a black dwarf with a golden nose. The latter symbolises the immense profits that unimaginative imitators literally earn at the expense of creatives and innovative companies.

1. Prize - Cutlery Set "KLIKK" (3 pieces) - sold as part of a promotion
Above Originals: koziol »ideas for friends GmbH, Erbach, Germany
Below Plagiarisms: Distribution: Are Media Pty Ltd., Sydney NSW, Australia
Manufacture: PR China

Compact. Clever. Sustainable. What seems so simple at first glance is extremely complex in its fine construction. The design-awarded KLIKK reusable cutlery set impresses with its intelligent plug-in connection and a sustainable material and manufacturing concept. Australia's 'leading premium' publisher of women's magazines used a very inferior plagiarism of the cutlery as part of a loyalty campaign. As much as the visual appearance was designed to match exactly, there was little emphasis on durability. The plagiarism is made of unsuitable plastic, which deforms after a very short time and thus makes the cutlery completely unusable after a few uses. Even the low price - approximately one third of the original price - is no consolation.

2. Prize - Pressure Gauge (use: in chemical and process engineering processes)
Left Original: WIKA Alexander Wiegand SE & Co. KG, Klingenberg, Germany
Right Counterfeit: Distribution: Abdullah Corporation, Dhaka, Bangladesh

(Pressure) measuring instruments are essential in mechanical engineering, automation, the food and pharmaceutical industries as well as in chemical and process engineering processes. WIKA products stand for precision, quality and safety; even at extreme temperatures or in highly aggressive media. The inferior counterfeits from Southeast Asia are neither reliably precise nor robust against shocks. This counterfeiter not only abuses the globally protected trademark "WIKA", he deceives buyers with "Made in Germany" about the true origin. CT examinations by Klostermann 3D Messtechnik reveal that the measuring spring of the counterfeit is too small and that there are no fine adjustment possibilities, so that the declared measuring accuracy - class 1.0 according to EN837-1 - is not achieved. The potential danger of falsely regulated pressure is high, as are the follow-up costs. Therefore, WIKA always takes decisive action against counterfeiters.

3. Prize - Double-row "INA" axial angular contact ball bearing (precision bearing for screw drives)
Left Original: Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG, Herzogenaurach, Germany
Right Counterfeit: GIANT Bearing Co., Ltd., Jiangsu, PR China

GIANT shamelessly copies and forges everything: from products, packaging and the brand names of renowned manufacturers such as Schaeffler, to dealer certificates, Data Matrix codes and bank confirmations. Everything, except the product quality. Precision and reliability play an enormous role in products that are used in machine tools, among other things. 3D Scanning by Klostermann 3D Messtechnik shows significant deviations in dimensional accuracy and manufacturing quality, with unpredictable consequences depending on the installation situation. The damage lies not only with Schaeffler, but also with dealers who are liable for the inferior quality, and with customers who have to endure the consequences for man and machine. Schaeffler therefore protects and defends its intellectual property very consistently worldwide.

Special Award Hyena Prize - Control Cabinet Key "KNIPEX TwinKey"
Middle Original: KNIPEX-Werk C. Gustav Putsch KG, Wuppertal, Germany
Around Plagiarisms: Various online vendors, mainly from the PR China (14 examples out of 9,500+)
Distribution via, among others: / /;;;;

9,500 ! illegal offers of the TwinKey have been deleted by KNIPEX on online platforms in the last three years. The special feature of the original: The ingenious, patent-protected solution, in which two multifunctional keys with a total of ten profiles are combined very compactly and in a star-shaped arrangement by means of a magnet, but can be easily separated for use. Various court decisions confirm the 'competitive distinctiveness' of the original, i.e. imitators act unfairly and deceive buyers about the origin. The extremely low prices of the counterfeits are reflected in cheap materials and poor workmanship, the magnet often does not work or comes loose from the attachment.

Distinction - “GERMENS“ Artist’s-Shirt “ALNUSO“
Left Original: GERMENS artfashion - Markeking GmbH, Chemnitz, Germany
Right Plagiarism: Distribution: Gabano UG (limited liability), Melle, Germany
Manufacturer: Gabano Fashion Design Agency / Gabano Group, Istanbul, Turkey

GERMENS shirts stand for high-quality fabrics and edgy designs created by artists. In this - and many other Gabano plagiarisms - the colours and the art motifs that characterise the overall impression have been copied almost 1:1, only the arrangement and tiny details have been changed or the view rotated. Gabano's German website is in English and contains no imprint. The address given on Facebook is also not accessible. Trendy buzzword buttons like "design process" and "sustainable production" lead nowhere. A German online retailer offered the plagiarism for one seventh of the original. He signed a cease-and-desist declaration.

Distinction - Cutlery Set "KLIKK POCKET" for on the go (3 pieces)
Left Originals: koziol »ideas for friends GmbH, Erbach, Germany
Right Plagiarisms: Distribution via: "", Fastfashion Online Shop
Operator SHEIN upon discovery of plagiarism: ZoeTop Business Co., Ltd., Hong Kong

The functional reusable cutlery KLIKK POCKET is ideal for on the go and meets the spirit of the times: compact, robust and 100% recyclable. Koziol has registered EU-wide design protection for the design-awarded cutlery - as for all its products. Cheap-Fastfashion distributor SHEIN recruited customers via Google Adwords and social media and offered the visually identical but unstable plagiarism in 4 colours - for less than a third of the original price. On the packaging of the plagiarism, 5 certificate labels are shown, which are supposed to testify to sustainability, quality and safety. Whether the testing institutes have ever tested the material and the cheap product is questionable.

Distinction - Volkswagen wheel trim with "VW" logo
Left Original: Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg, Germany
Right Counterfeit: Manufacturer: Murama S.r.l., Turin, Italy
Distribution: various online vendors (Germany / EU), via and

"Product does not originate them but adaptable". This is unabashedly engraved on every fake "VW" wheel cap. Optionally, Murama offers other car brands. Price: 25% of the original. This is reflected in cheap materials and lack of stability. VW protects its intellectual property worldwide and consistently enforces its rights. A German online vendor has signed a cease-and-desist declaration and submitted. The Italian manufacturer refused a cease-and-desist declaration. Despite obvious trademark infringement, (protracted) court proceedings are therefore pending against Murama in Italy.

Distinction - CanadianCat foodbar “Cat Diner”, with separate cat grass bowl
Above Original: Wagner Pet Products Group, Geilenkirchen, Germany
Below Plagiarism: Distribution: German discounter and a German supplier / theme promoter

The original: Smart (protected) design, well thought-out ergonomics, high-quality impression. Idea, shapes, colours and arrangement of the individual elements were adopted almost 1:1. The cheap price, a fifth of the original, quickly becomes apparent in the materials and fine construction. In the plagiarism, the feeding bowls are not made of shape- and heat-resistant ceramic, but of cheap plastic. The bowls do not sit stably in the recess, i.e. they slide back and forth uncontrollably and loudly when eating. Due to the clear design violation and in the interest of a quick and unbureaucratic settlement, the supplier / theme promoter of the German discounter was willing to settle the case amicably out of court.
Copyright 2022

Aktion Plagiarius e.V.
Nersinger Straße 18
D-89275 Elchingen
Tel: +49 (0) 7308 / 922 422