Plagiarius 2023

Massive danger for business, industry and private households

From modular wall shelving systems to drinking glasses and navigation SD cards: this is the range of counterfeit products that received this year's "Plagiarius Awards" at the "Ambiente" consumer goods trade show. Already since 1977 and thus for the 47th time the "Aktion Plagiarius e.V." awards the defamation price to manufacturers and dealers of particularly brazen plagiarisms and fakes. The trophy of the Abuse Award 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.

Consumer clout: Without demand, no business, no success and no incentive for counterfeiters

In the EU alone, according to EUIPO and the European Commission, some 86 million counterfeit goods were seized in 2021, an increase of almost 31% compared to 2020. And these are only the proven sei-zures, i.e. the tip of the iceberg. The EUIPO and OECD put the international trade in counterfeits at an alarming €412 billion in 2019, equivalent to 2.5% of world trade.

The greater the demand, the greater the success of the counterfeiters. Buyers and purchasers there-fore have the power, but also the social responsibility, to deprive counterfeiters of their business basis. And this is in their own best interest. Although counterfeit goods are available in all price and quality gradations, most of them are only deceptively similar to the original at first glance. The fact that an identical appearance does not automatically mean the same quality, performance and safety is proven by many products that Customs and Interpol have already withdrawn from circulation: Contaminated perfumes and cosmetics, technical products with defective electronics, children's toys that are defec-tive or full of harmful substances, medicines that have been dosed incorrectly or not at all, and many more. The German Engineering Federation also confirms that counterfeits often pose a danger to the operators of machinery and equipment or a risk to the safe operation of the equipment.

Educating responsible digital citizens

Educating responsible digital citizens In light of these developments, Aktion Plagiarius welcomes a recent initiative by EUIPO to make in-tellectual property more tangible for students through easy-to-understand educational materials. The aim is to educate young people to become responsible digital citizens who develop respect for their own ideas and the ideas of others. Intellectual property includes any intellectual achievement pre-sented in a unique new work - be it fashion, a product design, a technical solution, art or a cultural piece - they all deserve protection and recognition.

The Award Winners 2023 of the Negative Award “Plagiarius”

The jury met on January 06 + 07, 2023 and awarded three main prizes and three special awards that are equal in rank.

1. Prize: Modular wall shelf system "LINK"


left Original/right Plagiarism

Original: Studio Hausen/Jörg Höltje, Hamburg, Germany
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 de-sign, 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 qual-ity. 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, below Plagiarisms

Originals: koziol »ideas for friends GmbH, Erbach, Deutschland
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 ex-clusive facet design were adopted almost 1:1. However, a direct comparison reveals a simpler quali-ty 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/right Plagiarism

Original: Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Stuttgart, Germany
Counterfeit: Vertrieb: 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.

Three Special Awards (equal in rank) were awarded

Special Award "Identity Theft"

Abbildung Website

left Original/right Plagiarism

Original-Websites: - ake-Website:
Original: WIKA Alexander Wiegand SE & Co. KG, Klingenberg, Germany
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 manu-facturer, 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.)

verschiedenste Bauteile

left Original/right Plagiarism

(Application: operating equipment, machines, plants)
Originale: item Industrietechnik GmbH, Solingen, Germany
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.

SSpecial Award “Counterfeit”: SD-Card „Volkswagen Navigation AS (V16)“


left Original/right Plagiarism

Original: Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg, Germany
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.

More information

Background information on 2022 Plagiarius award can be found on the website of externer Link Aktion Plagiarius e.V. To find out why and how small and medium-sized enterprises in particular can protect their intellectual property, visit our SME information pages.

Quelle und Bilder: Aktion Plagiarius e.V.

Last updated: 26 January 2024