Plagiarius Award Winners 2023
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 - Modular wall shelf system "LINK"
Left Original: Studio Hausen / Jörg Höltje, Hamburg, Germany
Right Plagiarism: Distribution: German Furniture-chain-store (EU-wide acting)

Same same but different: design, concept and proportions are copied 1:1 - but the differences in quality are great and cannot be glossed over. The original convinces with high-quality workmanship and is made of FSC-certified solid wood from sustainable forestry. The plagiarism uses tropical mango wood of low quality, the cheap hangers are warped. - The furniture retailer showed himself to be reasonable, stopped the sale, destroyed remaining stocks and gave sales figures. - "Beautiful design, affordable for everyone", that's what many trading companies lure with. Acceptable, as long as it is their own / individual design and "affordable" is not at the expense of creative designers and quality. A large product range does not release those responsible for purchasing from their duty to check their suppliers and the goods they sell. It's all a question of responsibility and appreciation.

2. Prize - Glass „CLUB NO. 6 Superglas 300ml”
Above Originals: koziol »ideas for friends GmbH, Erbach, Germany
Below Plagiarisms: METPLAS A.S. / „Rubikap“ Plastic Tableware, Istanbul, Turkey

Crystal vs. plastic look: The special feature of the "CLUB SUPERGLAS" series: a high-tech material that combines the properties of glass - such as transparency, brilliance and light refraction - with the advantages of plastic - such as unbreakability, insulating properties, lightness and individual colouring. 100% recyclable, 100% Made in Germany, the high-quality koziol Superglasses were designed for professional use in the catering and hotel industry. In the plagiarism, the shape, concept and exclusive facet design were adopted almost 1:1. However, a direct comparison reveals a simpler quality of workmanship, a lower stability and the matt appearance typical of plastic. Koziol has protected its design in the EU. Misleadingly, the imitator advertises with the reference "patented".

3. Prize - Mercedes-Benz Vehicle-Diagnosis „XENTRY Diagnosis“ (for OBD – On-Board-Diagnosis)
Left Original: Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Stuttgart, Germany
Right Counterfeit: Distribution: OBD Diagnostic Tools, Fellbach (Stuttgart Region), Germany

Vehicle diagnostic systems (OBD) are used for repair and maintenance. The so-called multiplexer "SDconnect" serves as the interface between the vehicle OBD socket and the diagnostic computer. The counterfeit was advertised on a website and eBay. The Stuttgart Regional Court issued a civil conviction for infringement of the "MERCEDES-BENZ" trademark, the "Mercedes star" and the "XENTRY" trademark protected for diagnostic software; criminal proceedings were also opened. – Counterfeit vehicle diagnostic systems can not only be misused, e.g. to deactivate seat belt warnings or the maximum speed limit, but usually use outdated software without (safety) updates. Repairs and maintenance are then not carried out using the latest technology and do not offer the highest level of safety. Errors may not be detected and safety problems are possible.

Special Award "Identity Theft" - Original-Websites: / - Fake-Website:
Left Original: WIKA Alexander Wiegand SE & Co. KG, Klingenberg, Germany
Right Counterfeit: Chu Chaofeng, Shanghai, PR China (Domain-Owner of

„WIKA China Website" is the copyright notice on But there's a catch: this is not WIKA's Chinese website. Counterfeiting a product is brazen - stealing the entire identity of a renowned manufacturer, including photos, texts and history, is unscrupulous. A lot of criminal energy goes into it: Trademark and copyright infringements, the deliberate deception of website users - and WIKA's good reputation is shamelessly exploited for their own purposes. In addition to misleading advertising with other people's brands and the sale of counterfeits via eCommerce platforms, identity theft is also on the rise. Yet, pressure measuring devices are safety-relevant products - precision and reliability are crucial. The dangerously inferior quality of the counterfeits is all the more alarming. WIKA protects its intellectual property worldwide and takes decisive action against counterfeiters.

Special Award “Laziest Series Offender” - Products of the D30 LPS series (excerpt) and diverse components (brackets, connectors, etc.)
(Application: operating equipment, machines, plants)

Left Originals: item Industrietechnik GmbH, Solingen, Germany
Right Plagiarisms: Fath GmbH, Spalt, Germany

"Inspiration" misunderstood. Even with technical products, there is scope for design. As one of the market leaders in modular system kits for industrial applications, item has undoubtedly set various market standards that others follow. While item and many of its competitors inspire each other and have all developed their own design language and typical individual design features, the FATH range has for years included numerous products that look confusingly similar to item products. A further development, individual expression or even the mentioned innovation? Not recognisable. No amount of marketing can sugarcoat mass-produced imitations that are devoid of creativity.

Special Award “Counterfeit” - SD-Card „Volkswagen Navigation AS (V16)“
Left Original: Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg, Germany
Right Counterfeit: ITPROCARS Sp. z o.o., Gdansk, Poland – Distribution via its eBay-Shop

Upside-down world: First the fake, then the original ! Already 3 months before the release date of the Volkswagen navigation SD card in version V16, ITPROCARS has been selling fake SD cards online - almost at half the price. Via its eBay shop with top ratings (99.8% positive), the company supplies an SD card with a fake V16 sticker in a cover that is based on the original, but also fake, using the trademarks "Volkswagen" and "VW in a circle". The supplier admitted the trademark infringements, but refused to issue a cease-and-desist declaration with a penalty clause. Brazen, but to no avail: the Polish counterfeiter offers Volkswagen a payment of 2,000 euros in exchange for discontinuing legal action. Further legal steps are planned. The counterfeit VW SD cards are no longer offered - but fakes of other well-known car manufacturers continue to be offered.
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