Negative award Plagiarius again denounces brazen imitations

© Aktion Plagiarius e.V. (left: original – right: copy/fake)
This year‘s Plagiarius once again names brazen imitations – 2024 for copies of products from brands in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Operators of well-known e‑commerce platforms were also in the focus of the negative prize.

In 2024, first place in the Plagiarius negative prize went to a German manufacturer of glass products that allegedly copied the DENK‘ART glass series of the Austrian company ZALTO (see article photo above). According to the Plagiarius jury, four types of glasses from the Definition series of Bayrische Glaswerke are said to be copies of the Austrian originals, and legal proceedings are pending. Bayrische Glaswerke, in contrast, denies the accusations and, according to Plagiarius, refers to its right of “freedom of imitation”.

© Aktion Plagiarius e.V. (left: original – right: copy/fake)
Second place was awarded for a playing kit of the Volkswagen Beetle. According to Plagiarius, the company GDR‑Trading from the Netherlands is said to have copied it, infringing both the 3D trademark, as which the VW Beetle is protected throughout the EU, and the “VW in a circle” trademark of the Wolfsburg‑based car manufacturer. The imitators have already signed a cease‑and‑desist declaration. GDR‑Trading apparently advertised using pictures of the original kits and the claim that the model looked “true to the original” once built.

© Aktion Plagiarius e.V. (left: original – right: copy/fake)
The third prize was awarded to a company from China for copies of the “Standard 32” marble run model from Cuboro in Bern. The Chinese manufacturer is said to have copied this and other models, sometimes including packaging, photos and awards, and sold them via the online trading platform Taobao. The products were allegedly advertised there as “compatible with Cuboro” and sold well below the original price.

In addition to the three main prizes, two special prizes and four awards of equal status were awarded.

Koziol Besteckset
© Aktion Plagiarius e.V. (middle: original – around: copy/fake)
One of the special prizes refers to three online trading platforms: According to the Plagiarius jury, Temu, Alibaba, and did not do enough to prevent sales of copies of the koziol “KLIKK POCKET” cutlery set. Although the operators had removed offers for the imitations, they had allegedly not actively prevented them, so that such offers kept popping up. In 2022, copies of a cutlery set from manufacturer Koziol »ideas for friends took first place in the Plagiarius negative award.

Puma T-Shirt
© PUMA SE (left: original – right: copy/fake)
Another special prize went to the German company Streetwall 68, which took advantage of the popularity of Puma’s word/figurative trademark: By changing the Puma logo to the lettering “Pumba” together with a jumping warthog, the imitator parodied the print on the original T‑shirts.

© himolla Polstermöbel GmbH (left: original – right: copy/fake)
Another of the additional awards was awarded for copies of a sofa: According to Plagiarius, a furniture manufacturer from Poland had copied the protected design of himolla’s “Model 1926” sofa. The Cologne Regional Court reportedly has already ruled that the Polish company had to pay damages and remove its remaining stock from the market.

© Aktion Plagiarius e.V. (left: original – right: copy/fake)
Another award was given for copies of the “Knobi King” garlic rocker from Leifheit. According to Plagiarius, a Chinese manufacturer had imitated the EU‑wide protected Community Design and distributed it via a Slovenian company.

VW Schaltknauf
© Aktion Plagiarius e.V. (left: original – right: copy/fake)
The e‑commerce giant Amazon was also in the spotlight of the awards: Plagiarius criticized Amazon for not doing enough to remove copies of the “DSG” gear knob for Volkswagen’s Golf 6. These would infringe VW’s registered trademark. According to Plagiarius, Amazon does not respond to a warning letter and new offers keep popping up.

Wika Bimetall-Thermomanometer
© Aktion Plagiarius e.V. (left: original – right: copy/fake)
Finally, Plagiarius awards a further distinction for copies of WIKA’s measurement technology and the sale of those on eBay in Germany. Here, it is reportedly difficult to take action against the copies, as the platform apparently demanded a court judgement first. Last year, a copy of the WIKA website was already awarded a Plagiarius special prize.

The committee also particularly highlighted the spread of imitations on online platforms such as Temu and Shein or on AliExpress, part of Alibaba Group. According to Plagiarius, cheap items are often offered there, but these are frequently imitations or counterfeit products or do not meet EU standards. Reportedly, the platforms are also aggressively advertised on social media platforms, where a particularly young audience is targeted, according to Plagiarius.

The annual negative award is intended to raise awareness of the methods used by imitators and to warn consumers of the risks of copycat products. Plagiarius also calls on platform operators in particular to take stricter action against imitations and to check potential sellers more closely.

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