Department store chain Kaufhof was on Friday given second place in the competition no business wants to win, while wholesale tool retailer Würth also came within the top ten.
The "Plagiarius" awards identify companies selling own-brand products whose designs have obviously been copied. Judges said Kaufhof was selling porcelain dishes which were clearly a copy of a British design originating in Portugal.
Würth was also implicated for copying the design of a cutting implement.
But German companies were also the victims of fabrication. Judges awarded a “distinction” to a Czech company for copying the design of a toy concrete cement mixer originally made by the Bruder toy company and a Dubai- based group was found to have copied German egg cup designs.
The top prize was awarded to a Qatari public works company for the construction of 920 street lamps in the capital Doha, based on plans by a Spanish design agency.
The negative awards were set up in 1977 with the aim of drawing attention to the impact of copying on companies, designers and the economy.
German designer and honorary professor Rido Busse, who is behind the initiative, said his goal was to make people conscious of the “unscrupulous business practices of plagiarists and to raise awareness among industrialists, politicians and consumers of the problem.”
The “Plagiarist” trophy is shaped like a gnome and has a golden nose, which is supposed to symbolize the exorbitant gains to be made at the expense of original innovators. The winners of the undesirable accolades were announced at a Frankfurt trade fair.