“Innovation vs. Imitation – Plagiarius” – accuses imitators for their unimaginative and shameless behaviour !
The negative award “Plagiarius” – the black gnome with a gold nose – to signify the illicit earnings from product imitation – were awarded for the 36th time last week ( feb 10, 2012) in Frankfurt, Germany. The black gnome is a very fitting symbol for the high profits that are made at the expense of innovative design – often accompanied by untruthful statements. More and more ruthless, product pirates copy ideas of successful companies that invest in design quality, and present them as their own achievements.
The award was given to those manufacturers and distributors whom the jury has found guilty of “making or selling “the most flagrant” (design) imitations.” It publicly denounces “design robbery” and the lack of ideas: the “Plagiarius”.
pla·gia·rism >> [pley-juh-riz-uhm, ] noun >> the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work, as by not crediting the author: It is said that he plagiarized Thoreau’s plagiarism of a line written by Montaigne. Synonyms: appropriation, infringement, piracy, counterfeiting; theft, borrowing, cribbing, passing off.
Since 1977 Action Plagiarius has been increasing the public awareness of the unscrupulous business practices of imitators who copy 1:1 the innovative design and technical solutions of successful products. “The presenting of a ‘Plagiarius’ award does not say anything about whether a plagiarism is permitted or not in the legal sense. Aktion Plagiarius must not and does not want to dispense justice. However, we can shed public light on injustice and act as a mouthpiece for the vast number of enterprises affected by imitations”, says Prof. Rido Busse, the initiator of Plagiarius.
“In my eyes, the plagiarists only get lenient sentences, because they do not commit a ‘classic’ crime. A special issue about design robbery is the fact that you are actually unaware that you have been robbed. The thief can work in peace and quiet. However, profit has already been made and severe damage has been caused by them”, said the initiator and CEO of Red Dot Prof Dr Peter Zec (below).
Admittedly, there is no progress and development without referring to already existing patterns, ideas and rules. However what counts is the willingness to develop the existing and give it an individual and distinctive style. The imitators pursue one goal only: to profit at the expense of the hard work of others – and this affects the creatives and the consumers likewise. They copy successful products thereby not only saving on expensive costs for R&D and marketing, but also in production costs by outsourcing the production to foreign countries where the cost is much lower resulting in sometimes lower quality products which ultimately is at the expense of the consumer. In some industries such as toys, technical / electronic products or medication the poor quality can even be fatal.
Photos: left (or above): original // right (or below): plagiarism
The Prize winners of the Plagiarius-Competition 2012: follow on here
Three prizes and seven distinctions were awarded; total entities 26.
1. Prize >> Lightweight Forged Wheel “AC Schnitzer Type V”
Original: AC Schnitzer automobile Technik, Aachen, Germany
Falsification: Distribution: Rimlux GmbH, Essen, Germany
2. Prize >> Salad Making System “Salad Chef”
Original: Genius GmbH, Limburg, Germany
Falsification: Ninghai Xidian Jianfeng Plastics Mould Factory, Zhejiang, PR China
3. Prize >> Fog Generator for Mosquito- and Pest Control “Swingfog SN 50”
Original: Swingtec GmbH, Isny, Germany
Plagiarism: Shenzhen Send-Tech Co., Ltd., Shenzhen, PR China
The company Rimlux from Essen, Germany, was punished with the rightful first prize. The original lightweight forged wheels are a product of the AC Schnitzer automobile technology.
The second place was given to the Ninghai Xidian Jianfeng Plastics Mould Factory from China that plagiarised the salad cutter “Salad Chef” of the company Genius.
Everything is stolen – could also be the motto of the Chinese company Shenzhen Send-Tech – that didn’t develop its own ideas for a fogger for mosquito and pest control, but used the “Swingfog SN 50” from Swingtec as a template for its own version.
Seven “Distinctions“ (equal in rank) were awarded:
Fan “Dyson Air Multiplier AM01”
Original: Dyson Ltd., Malmesbury, Great Britain / Dyson GmbH, Cologne, Germany
Plagiarism: Manufacture: PR China
Distribution: Germany and Austria
Cross-Cutting Garlic Mincer “The GarlicTwist GT2”
Original: NexTrend Products, California, U.S.A.
Plagiarism: Mascot Europe B.V., The Netherlands
Mattress “Phaeton” (7-Zones-1000-Pocket-Spring-Mattress)
Original: Panther Deutschland GmbH, Duesseldorf, Germany
Plagiarism: Hukla Matratzen GmbH, Gengenbach, Germany
Veggi Cut Revolution “swizzzProzzz sP20“
Original: swizzzProzzz AG, Beckenried, Switzerland
Falsification: Distribution: Ningbo Well Rich Imp. & Exp. Co., Ltd., Ningbo, PR China
Pressure Gauge “tecsis manometer 1453/1454 shock proof”
Original: tecsis GmbH, Offenbach, Germany
Falsification: Distribution: Suzhou LINK Automatic Instrumentation Co., Ltd., Suzhou, PR China
Folding-Plate for (Truck) Sliding-Roof of the brand “Edscha Trailer Systems”
Original: VBGGROUP Truck Equipment GmbH, Krefeld, Germany
Plagiarism: Manufacture: PR China
Distribution: C.F. Berg Otomotiv Ltd. Sti, Istanbul, Turkey
3-D Construction Toy Block “LaQ Mini Kit Shark”
Original: YOSHIRITSU Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan
Plagiarism: Qiaoyang Toys, PR China
Countering idea theft: Forger of the AC Schnitzer Type V Wheel Wins Negative “Plagiarius” Prize
Profit at the cost of others – that’s the aim of the forgers who copy and sell successful products. As well as the economic damage, there is often also a risk to the end user because poor quality can be a danger to life. To draw attention to this situation, in 1977 the Plagiarius Prize was set up. The “Plagiarius” prize is awarded annually to the most audacious counterfeiters during a press conference at the Ambiente Show in Frankfurt, and denounces the lack of imagination of imitators.
This year’s recipient of the “Plagiarius” prize has produced a copy which is not only an audacious imitation but also carries a high risk: the AC Schnitzer forged alloy wheel Type V. Unique in design and technical development, material plays a key role in production of the wheel. The complex production method used by the Aachen-based tuning specialist has not been applied by the counterfeiters. As a result, the copy looks similar to the original but will not withstand the same loads. In a standard test – the cornering test – carried out by TÜV Nord, the imitation wheel broke after just 183,000 load changes, and is therefore a life-threatening danger to any customer.
For AC Schnitzer, the award of the Plagiarius prize is important for several reasons. “Safe and serious tuning is at the forefront of our corporate philosophy”, emphasises Rainer Vogel, Managing Director of AC Schnitzer. “So it’s important to us to point out the danger which can result from use of such forgeries!” With its product range for BMW and MINI, AC Schnitzer is showing that design and safety are not mutually exclusive – all tuning components are TÜV-tested and meet the highest safety standards
Plagiarius Prize / Frankfurt, 10.02.2012 Ambiente Fair
Acceptance Speech of Rainer Vogel, Managing Director AC Schnitzer
“The Plagiarism Prize – certainly one of the most unusual prizes we’ve ever been awarded.
AC Schnitzer – for 25 years, we’ve produced individual products for BMW and MINI vehicles beyond the standard. The prizes we’ve been awarded, as we usually understand them; – prizes where AC Schnitzer stands far above the crowd in the opinion of customers – are of course always appreciated. At the same time, when we win a prize, we feel a strong obligation to work harder in future to make automotive dreams come true.
But whom should we be thanking here?
What should we work harder at in the future?
The answer lies in the prize itself: the dwarf with a golden nose. Dwarves are seen as cunning and sly, crafty and mean, and often have superhuman powers and magical abilities.
That’s precisely what we’re facing here – a competitor who fights with unequal weapons to spoil our business.
In the last 25 years, we’ve tried everything to beat this dwarf: Patent infringement cases, customs seizures, holograms, logos on every corner, ebay VeRo programme, internet scans, test purchases, exhibition seizures, media-effective scrappage campaigns, etc. etc. etc. … We have even visited the counterfeit manufacturers of our products in Asia, but met with zero comprehension. As far as possible, we have placed our production in a regional and national context – for this very reason.
Sometimes in this fight, we have the feeling that we’re not just facing one evil dwarf but a Hydra from Greek mythology. You know the story: cut off one head and two new ones grow .. Heracles however managed to win the fight against the hydra in the end – but we’ve not got that far yet.
We think that informing our customers is another extremely important weapon in the fight against the evil dwarf. Product arguments with usage benefits, safety tests on forgeries and information campaigns worldwide will certainly help us make the customer more aware.
The work of the team around the Plagiarism prize is extremely important in this information campaign. So we feel very honoured to contribute to this important work for consumer protection.
We are the original when it comes to sporting individual accessories for BMW and MINI vehicles. That’s where our work will be focussed in the future, because unfortunately originality alone has no value. Only when it is accompanied by ever new innovations and a strong, positively charged brand full of tradition, will we be able in the future to defeat the evil dwarves of this world.
So for us, this prize is both an incentive and an obligation.
copy of test report here — >>> http://www.ac-schnitzer.de/fileadmin/mediapool/images/BMW_Autos/Events_Aktionen/2012-02_Plagiarius/Laborbericht_TUEV_Felgenkopie.pdf
The Jury of the Plagiarius-Competition 2012:
Each year the jury is put together individually with specialists from diverse sectors (Design, Intellectual Property, Business, Media etc.). The following persons formed this years’ jury:
Prof. Dr. Markus Braunewell
Lawyer, Braunewell Lawfirm, Duesseldorf
Johann Maria Farina
Managing Director Johann Maria Farina gegenüber dem Jülichs-Platz GmbH seit 1709, Cologne
Marketing Director EMEA, OpSec Security GmbH, Munich
Editor-in-Chief “DER FEINSCHMECKER”, Jahreszeiten Verlag GmbH, Hamburg
Managing Director GÜNZBURGER STEIGTECHNIK GmbH, Guenzburg
President Police Headquarters Wuppertal
President Federal Patent Court, Munich
Managing Director Häfele GmbH & Co KG, Nagold
Dr. Rudolf Wieser
Member of the Board of Directors WMF AG, Geislingen
Dr. Aliki Busse
Lawyer, Busse & Partner – Lawfirm, Munich
The Museum Plagiarius – Original vs. Plagiarism
The Museum Plagiarius in Solingen (Germany) shows more than 350 product units, i.e. originals of all sectors and their brazen plagiarisms in direct comparison. In guided tours, seminars and consumer events both, industry and consumers are getting a ‘first-hand-view’ on the problem and receive information about the sweeping extent of the damages and dangers incurred by fakes.
The aim of Plagiarius is to inform the public – industry and consumers alike – about the sweeping extent of the damages and dangers incurred by fakes and plagiarisms. Furthermore Plagiarius serves as a platform and is a great conduit for industry to shed light on this problem on an international basis. The huge public awareness level of “Plagiarius” often makes a strong impact. In the past, numerous imitators have withdrawn remainders of stock from the market, have signed cease and desist letters or revealed their suppliers
Brand- and product piracy increases dramatically, the damages for all parties involved are immense. Nevertheless, plagiarisms and fakes are often dismissed as a trifling offence. In fact though, it is a lucrative billion dollar business for counterfeiters, a severe threat for innovative enterprises and – due to inferior materials and a lack of security controls – a serious risk for the consumers.
Originals require know-how, energy and readiness to assume risk
For the leading industrial nations the further development and expansion of their technology leadership is existential. Therefore, the employees of innovative firms invest a lot of know-how, experience and passion in the development of new products. They create trendy designs and elaborate on technical solutions, which enrich or simplify the world or just make it safer. However, these research- and development processes are highly time consuming and cost-intensive and have to pay off economically. After all, these enterprises not only boost progress and growth, they also bear the entrepreneurial responsibility for safe jobs. The know-how of their employees is the most important asset of these knowledge-based companies.
Counterfeits are clumsy and reckless
In contrast, the imitators take the easy way out: they simply copy 1:1 the end-product, and thus save the expensive advance investments for Research & Development as well as for design and marketing. Furthermore, due to highly modern technologies and increasing experience the counterfeiters are nowadays capable of producing plagiarisms at all diverse price- and quality levels – depending on the assignment and purpose.
Still, a huge number of cheap copies are characterised by inferior materials, poor manufacture as well as missing quality- and safety controls. Also, the fact is that these cheap fakes are often produced under degrading working conditions, such as child labour, enormous overtime, low wages and without protection from unsafe machinery and noxious chemical substances.
A licence contract with the original producer as well as fair manufacturing conditions would be a legal and gainful alternative to dishonest counterfeits, also concerning the safety of the consumers.
Innovation vs. Imitation
The fact is that the economic damage incurred by fakes and plagiarisms is considerable – for small and medium-sized enterprises it may even be jeopardizing their existence: Starting with decreasing turnovers and the loss of market shares up to unfounded product liability claims and the loss of jobs.
Also, according to affected companies more and more cases accumulate where the original producer does not get the award of the (huge) contract of e.g. (public) tendering, because an imitator offers the supposedly same product at a lower price.
Customs withdraws increasing numbers of counterfeits from circulation
Solely in 2010 European customs officials seized more than 103 million IP infringing goods at the EU borders. The value of these imitations is estimated at more than 1 billion EURO. Almost 85% of the products seized had its origin in China – India is top-ranked for fake pharmaceuticals, Turkey with regard to foods and beverages.
However, also a great number of fakes and plagiarisms are demonstrably produced in Europe and other industrial nations, deliberately commissioned by western companies or imported by discounters.
It is striking that the number of seizures in the field of mail traffic has more than tripled. The reason for this is the explosive growth of online purchases. Be it out of the joy over a supposed bargain, or laziness or out of embarrassment – more and more European consumers purchase cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and lifestyle products from all over the world via the Internet. The number of dubious online-vendors who rely on that is immense – just like their criminal energy.
Hazard “counterfeit“ – consumers often over credulous
In these times of the internet and globalisation counterfeiters dispose of world-wide networks and act more and more professionally and ruthlessly. The consumers must not cherish the illusion that the intention of the counterfeiters is to offer them more variety or cheap alternatives. Driven by greed, the imitators act deliberately and recklessly put at stake the health of their employees and the consumers. Examples are fake pharmaceuticals without any active ingredients, or in a wrong dose or contaminated – side effects such as palpitations, allergic shocks or even cardiac arrest are “gratis” included. Equally dangerous are e.g. counterfeited toys (too many plasticisers, swallowable small parts), electronic devices (short-circuit) or automotive accessories.
Standard-Endurance- Testing of the “TÜV Nord” (Technical Inspection Authority, Germany) revealed that the fake wheels (see 1. Prize “Plagiarius 2012”) had cracks only after a short while, broke apart and hence constituted an incalculable safety risk
Especially in the World Wide Web consumers should carefully verify vendors and products and not credulously fall victim to supposed bargains. With the intentional purchase of fake products consumers directly invest in child labour and often even support organised crime. Consequently, as markets regulate themselves by supply and demand each consumer bears considerable responsibility for success or failure of pirated goods.
Higher appreciation of creative work
The current success of fakes and plagiarisms partially arises from the fact that many consumers are label-seekers and bargain hunters. They are keen on the original brands, trendy designs and technical highlights, but are not willing to pay the price for all that. This also involves an evidently missing appreciation of the original product and the inherent creative achievement. In order to gain the consumers as comrades-in-arms in the battle against counterfeits, the original producers have to convince them that the supposedly high price is no caprice or whim on the part of the manufacturers, but rather reflects the value of factually performed services and investments.
> 10% of world-wide commerce are fakes and plagiarisms
> Annual world-wide economic loss: EUR 200-300 billion
> Annual world-wide loss of jobs: 200.000
> Dramatically rising numbers of confiscations through customs
> Increase of unauthorized/unfounded product liability claims on part of the creatives
Plagiarism is an imitation of a product for the purpose of economic exploitation. It is made either with slavish accuracy or with minute changes. Especially perfidious are more significant changes made so skilfully that the casual observer interprets them into a visual perception of the appearance of the original.
Forgery is the making of an imitation in order to deceive people. The purchaser is convinced that he has bought the original from a reputable company. Forgery is a criminal offence and is prosecuted as such (e.g. spare parts, medicines, records, etc.)
Design pirates are companies who have made imitation their marketing concept. They sub-contract the production and very quickly sell large quantities of imitation products.
Brand Piracy (trademark exhaustion): There are countries where it is perfectly legal for third parties to register brands that are already registered in their country of origin. This results in the situation where the actual owner of the brand cannot sell his own products in that country. In order not to be excluded from his legitimate market, the owner of the original trade mark must reach some kind of agreement with the brand pirate. Something that usually is a very expensive undertaking (e.g. Puma in Spain, Mercedes E-Type in France).
A replica was originally the replication of a work by the master craftsman (the second, third etc. version). Today a replica is understood to be a new edition of an old product design by the copyright owner or with his consent. A replica must be clearly labelled as such.