Plagiarius at Ambiente 2011

Ambiente, Frankfurt’s huge annual consumer goods fair, awards a variety of accolades to designers and brands during its annual show. This particular award is unusual in that it’s negative, and the only award you wouldn’t want to receive.

Left: Koziol, Germany. Right: Hexin Electric & Plastic Factory, China

Plagiarius exposes the worst copies of the year, and it’s shocking to see how completely some companies rip off other companies’ ideas. We’re not talking about being “inspired” by a form, function or detail here (although that’s a grey area in itself) – these companies have ripped off entire products even down to the branding and packaging.

Left: original by Bruder, Germany. Right: copy by A.H.U. ADAR, Poland

I was genuinely taken aback by the level of plagiarising on show here; in many cases I could not tell them apart even after consulting the label (which differentiates between the genuine article on the left and rip-off on the right). I guess it’s a matter of quality a lot of the time, but it’s deeply unfair for a designer to slave over a product and get it to production, only to see it ripped off wholesale by an anonymous company from a different country. There are issues of supply and demand here, of course, but if you cannot tell it is a copy, what’s to stop you buying a product in good faith – or even thinking you have grabbed yourself a bargain?

Left: Tupperware Deutschland. Right: Shanghai Yuhao Household Appliance Manufacturing Co.

At any rate, it’s good to see an enormous and influential tradefair broaching the subject, and exposing these companies for the frauds they are.

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Plagiarius at Ambiente 2011

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