The Museum Plagiarius- 03.31.07
I’ve always been amused by knock offs, especially the ones that change the name of the brand slightly. The founders of The Museum Plagiarius in Germany, however, don’t share my view. The museum displays about 300 products along with their rip-off counterparts in the hopes of bringing to the public’s attention how harmful this practice is for small designers. From BusinessWeek.com:
For 30 years, the museum’s co-founder, Rido Busse, has given the annual Plagiarius award to a handful of unscrupulous product rip-offs. Busse, a design professor, created the award in 1977 when he discovered that a Japanese company had copied a set of scales he had made for the German interior design company Soehnle Waagen. He decided to publicly shame the Japanese outfit by symbolically awarding them a prize—a black garden gnome with a golden nose—which he handed out at the Hanover Fair in the presence of the only journalist who decided to turn up. (Naturally, the counterfeiter didn’t show up to accept the award; it’s safe to say that was one bizarre ceremony.)
Aktion Plagiarius, the non-profit group that runs the museum, also offers legal advice and workshops to designers to help fight counterfeiters. Definitely check out the slideshow on businessweek.com. The knock off of Alfi called “Albi” cracks me up.