Plagiarism not only harms the original manufacturers, but also consumers. The negative award “Plagiarius” was awarded for the 45th time on April 16, 2021 — for the first time in the context of a virtual press conference due to corona.
Before the annually changing jury selects the award winners, the alleged plagiarists are informed about their nomination and given the opportunity to comment. The jury is not concerned with branding legal competitor products. Rather, the intention is to put the spotlight on clumsy 1:1 imitations that deliberately look confusingly similar to the original product and show no creative or constructive contribution of their own. Fortunately, numerous imitators have already sought a settlement with “Plagiarius” out of fear of the award and, for example, have taken residual stocks of the plagiarized products off the market, signed cease-and-desist declarations or disclosed their suppliers.
This year, three particularly brazen product plagiarisms were again honored:
1st prize: “STIHL MS 250” chainsaw.
Original: ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG, Waiblingen, Germany
Counterfeit: Hangzhou Guley Garden Machinery Co., Ltd., PR China
The counterfeit infringes the word mark “STIHL” (here: STHIL) as well as the color mark (orange/light gray) protected in over 100 countries. Guley is one of the TOP3 counterfeiters of STIHL products in China with customers mainly in Southeast Asia, Africa and South America.
2nd prize: Electric brake bleeder “ERS 5” (use: automotive brake maintenance)
Original: MANOTEC Industrial Automation, Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany
Plagiarism: Manufacture: PR China, Distribution: Czech supplier via eBay and Amazon
This cheap plagiarism does not comply in any way with the legal requirements for electrical and pressure equipment.
3rd price: Sofa bed “Up-Lift
Original: Prostoria d.o.o., Sv. Kriz Zacretje, Croatia
Plagiarism: Oxygen Corp. Limited, London, Great Britain, sold via: privatefloor.com / myfaktory.com
Prostoria has registered design protection in many countries for its award-winning “Up-Lift” product line. The imitator copies 1:1 design, function and product name, so there is a risk of confusion.
Aktion Plagiarius e.V. has been awarding the dreaded “Schmäh-Preis” to manufacturers and retailers of particularly brazen plagiarisms and counterfeits since 1977. The award says nothing about whether a counterfeit product is legally permitted or illegal. The aim of the Plagiarius campaign is rather to raise public awareness of the dubious business methods of product and brand pirates and to sensitize industry, politicians and consumers to the problem. The trophy is a black dwarf with a golden nose. The latter symbolizes the immense profits that unimaginative imitators literally earn at the expense of creative and innovative companies.
The initiator of “Plagiarius,” Professor Rido Busse, died in February 2021 at the age of 86. As an industrial designer, Busse had recognized early on that genuine innovations are decisive for the prosperity and competitiveness of a national economy, and that it is indispensable to promote and protect creative ideas and know-how.
In its unique exhibition, the Museum Plagiarius shows more than 350 Plagiarius award winners from a wide range of industries — in each case the original and the plagiarism in direct comparison. The 2021 award winners are also to be shown in the short term. The exact date will be announced on the museum’s website, taking into account the current Corona regulations.