Negative price “Plagiarius” brings copyright abuse into the public interest

Product and brand piracy - a massive threat to the economy, environment and consumers! Negative Award "Plagiarius" brings the extent, damage and background to the public eye Product and brand piracy is a lucrative business worth billions, also for organised crime. Design plagia rism, cheap counterfeits, dupes and replicas flood websites, e-commerce- and social media platforms - the figures are overwhelming and worrying. The damage that counterfeit products cause to buyers, inno vative manufacturers, authorised retailers and, last but not least, the environment is immense. Anyone who deliberately buys counterfeits or encourages third parties to buy them through aggressive advertis ing or trivialisation is supporting the devastating manufacturing conditions and socio-economic conse quences. The same applies to all platform operators who do not actively or preventively stop the sale of counterfeits.

2. Prize Playing Kit „LEGO Creator 10252 – VW Beetle”

Left Original: Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg, Germany


Right Counterfeit: GDR-Trading BV, Meppel, The Netherlands

The iconic VW Beetle is protected throughout the EU as a 3D trade mark, meaning that the three[1]dimensional Beetle shape is a trade mark of its own. Self-evidently, Volkswagen has also protected the famous "VW in a circle" trade mark worldwide. In this case, both the Beetle 3D trade mark and the "VW in a circle" trade mark are infringed. In addition to the kit for the VW Beetle, GDR-Trading also offered other counterfeits via its online shops in Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. The fakes were advertised with photos of the original kits and the claim "that the finished model looks true to the original". The counterfeits were delivered in plastic bags wrapped in bubble wrap. GDR has signed a cease-and-desist declaration and provided information on sales figures. Some of the counterfeits cost half the price of the original licence kits, which is reflected in the lack of stability and quality of the finished products.


3. Prize CUBORO Marble Run „STANDARD 32“ (Educational game / learning method in schools / CUBORO championships)

Left Original Cuboro AG, Bern, Switzerland Plagiarism: Manufacturer of the “Easycool”-


Right Plagiarisms (Distribution via Zaozhuang Yike Electromechanical Equipment Co., Ltd., Shandong, PR China

The entire, multi-award-winning CUBORO marble run system consists of over 100 different ele[1]ments. It trains fine motor skills, strengthens spatial imagination and stimulates creativity. Invented by Matthias Etter in the 1970s, CUBORO now inspires children and adults in more than 30 coun[1]tries, including Asia. The original cubes are produced in a family carpentry workshop from certified "Swiss wood" from sustainably managed beech forests. All elements are pure natural products, chemically untreated. Concept theft: Easycool copies almost all CUBORO products, in some cases including packaging, photos, functional graphics, awards and designations of origin. They advertise the counterfeits as "compatible with CUBORO". Easycool has been trying to poach Cuboro's Euro[1]pean dealers directly since 2023. The counterfeits cost 50 percent of the original.




PLAGIARIUS 2024 - 1. Prize: Glass series „DENK’ART“ (Champagne-, Universal-, Bordeaux- and Burgunderglass)

left Originals: ZALTO Glas GmbH, Gmünd, Austria
right Plagiarisms: Bayerische Glaswerke GmbH, Neustadt a.d. Waldnaab, Germany


In 2004, Zalto launched the "DENK'ART" glass series, which is popular with winegrowers, top gastronomy   and consumers, and hand-blown according to traditional craftsmanship. In 2020, Bayerische Glaswerke   GmbH presented its machine-made "Definition" glass series, which it says is based on two of its own older   glass series. Neither company has applied for design protection. A lawsuit is currently pending between the   renowned companies. Regardless of how the court decides with regard to possible unfair competitive be haviour, the jury found that the 4 glass types in the "Definition" glass series look confusingly similar to the 4   most successful glass types in the Zalto series and that fair competition between respected competitors   looks different. In its statement before the jury meeting, Bayerische Glaswerke GmbH explicitly referred to   "freedom of imitation" and denied that there is any legal or moral wrongdoing.

The internet is not a legal vacuum. The strict rules that apply in stationary retail also apply in the digital world - they just need to be enforced much more consistently there - especially against pro[1]viders from third countries. Plagiarius: Against brazen innovation theft - for creative diversity and fair competition On 26 January 2024, Aktion Plagiarius awarded its dreaded negative prize "Plagiarius" for the 48th time to manufacturers and traders of particularly brazen plagiarisms and counterfeits. The award ceremony took place during a press conference at the Frankfurt consumer goods trade fair "Ambiente". Before the annually changing jury selects the winners, the alleged plagiarists are informed of their nomination and given the opportunity to comment. The "Plagiarius" award says nothing about whether the counterfeit product is legally permitted or illegal. Aktion Plagiarius cannot pass judgement. However, it can express the opinion that clumsy 1:1 imitations, which deliberately look deceptively similar to the original product, are reckless and morally reprehensible and lead to stagnation instead of progress and diversity. For the first time, the award winners also include well-known platform operators who take action against infring[1]ing imitations after being notified by the rights holders, but not proactively and preventively.

Photo and release: Aktion Plagiarius e.V., Germany




Kulturexpress  ISSN 1862-1996


February 3, 2024