The German campaign ‘Aktion Plagiarius’ is an annual event awarding an anti-prize to manufacturers and distributors guilty of making or selling ‘the most flagrant’ design imitations. The awards help to shed light on the issue in an international arena and spread the message: boycott cheap copies and report plagiarisms.

Since 1977, Aktion Plagiarius has been drawing public attention to the escalating problem of fakes and plagiarisms in the design industry. Creating rip-offs of innovative design and technical solutions of successful products is an unscrupulous business practice – and unfortunately a reality.

The internet, globalisation and gullible bargain hunters have escalated the problem and forgers are reaping the rewards with multibillion-dollar gains. The impact this has on the original designers and producers of these products is huge. Design imitators are detrimental to the design industry, especially small companies and individual designers, as well as the economy.

The awards – held on 15 February at the ‘Ambiente’, the world’s largest consumer goods trade fair in Frankfurt – revealed, once again, that brand piracy across a wide range of industries is a rampant, global problem, and highlighted the sweeping extent of the dangers and damages created by counterfeit design.

Three main prizes, two special prizes and five distinctions (equal in rank) were awarded for a total of 43 entries. The prizewinners were presented at the Special Show ‘Plagiarius’. The 2013 winners will also be presented in the Museum Plagiarius in Solingen, Germany and at international travelling exhibitions.

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