Product managers at Motorservice uncovered counterfeit models of the coolant pump as early as 2014. Motorservice issued a product warning, patent holder Pierburg brought an action and won. In 2018 Oliver Hurtz, Lead Product Manager Mechatronics at Motorservice, made another find at the Automechanika trade fair: This time, he discovered two counterfeits of the CWA 200. Motorservice took legal action once again. The pumps had to be removed from the two trade fair stands on the following day and Motorservice was awarded compensation. The coolant pumps were forbidden from being sold by law in both cases.
Placed in the spotlight
By applying for the Plagiarius 2019 award, Motorservice made the deliberate decision to raise public awareness of the issue: "For us it's about making people aware of the problem. We want to protect our customers and ourselves from these ruthless product pirates," highlighted Oliver Hurtz in his acceptance speech at the awards ceremony. Tests on the company's test rigs ultimately showed that the counterfeit offered poor performance and the electronic components were defective. If the pump were to fail, the engine would overheat and this could result in severe consequential damage, Oliver Hurtz continued. For the award jury, the counterfeit was so brazen that they considered it one of the ten most shameless product fakes from all the submissions. If you would like to see the crude counterfeit for yourself, the coolant pump and its fake will be shown in the Plagiarius Museum in Solingen from 15 February. This museum exhibits more than 355 Plagiarius award winners from numerous different sectors.
The Plagiarius competition
The Plagiarius competition was launched by designer Prof. Rido Busse and was awarded for the 43rd time in 2019. The association responsible for the prize (Aktion Plagiarius e.V.) has been awarding the dreaded "worst-of" award to manufacturers and retailers of particularly brazen counterfeits and fakes since 1977. The aim is to draw public attention to the crude and unscrupulous business practices of product and brand imitators, and to raise awareness of the problem amongst industry players, politicians and consumers. At the same time, the association highlights the importance and effectiveness of industrial property rights. It also increases consumers' appreciation of creative achievements, by showing them first-hand that the development process for a product, from the initial idea through to market maturity, requires a great deal of time, money, know-how and ingenuity. This is also reflected by the mock award's trophy – a black gnome with a golden nose – which symbolises the immense profits that unimaginative counterfeiters generate, literally at the expense of creative designers and the industry.
You can find the full press release from Aktion Plagiarius e.V. here.