U.S. Customs seizes 2,000 OnePlus Buds thinking they were "counterfeit" AirPods

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,572   +591
Staff member
Facepalm: Would you be able to tell the difference between OnePlus Buds and Apple AirPods? What about if they were in a clearly labeled box that said they were OnePlus Buds? Well, apparently, US customs officials can't since they seem proud of themselves that they seized 2,000 of them thinking they were counterfeit AirPods.

Update (Sept 15): The CBP has issued a statement confirming the seizure, and explaining that the shipment violates Apple's trademarks. Read the exact wording below:

"Upon examining the shipment in question, a CBP Import Specialist determined that the subject earbuds appeared to violate Apple's configuration trademark. Apple has configuration trademarks on their brand of earbuds, and has recorded those trademarks with CBP," an agency spokesperson said. "Based on that determination, CBP Officers at JFK Airport have seized the shipment under 19 USC 1526 (e). CBP's seizure of the earbuds in question is unrelated to the images or language on the box. A company does not have to put an 'Apple' wordmark or design on their products to violate these trademarks. The importer will have many opportunities through the adjudication process to provide evidence that their product does not violate the relevant recorded trademarks."

On September 11, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency announced it had seized a shipment of "counterfeit" Apple AirPods from China to the United States. It estimated the street value of the contraband to be around $398,000.

"That's not an [apple]," a braggadocious Sunday tweet from the CBP read. "CBP officers at JFK Airport recently seized 2,000 counterfeit Apple AirPods from Hong Kong, valued at $398K had they been genuine." Unfortunately, the agency was too quick to start patting itself on the back because all it got right was that the shipment was from China and that the earbuds were not an Apple product.

According to the CBP images included with its tweet and press release, it was a legitimate OnePlus Buds shipment. One might forgive agents for mistaking the devices for AirPod knockoffs due to their similar design. They are just different enough from AirPods to avoid a design patent lawsuit from Apple, but what is harder to fathom the agency's complete ignorance of the clearly labeled "OnePlus Buds—White" packaging.

Troy Miller, the head of the New York division of the CBP, where the shipment was seized, ironically praised his agents' "vigilance" in a statement.

"CBP Officers are protecting the American public from various dangers on a daily basis," said Troy Miller, Director of CBP's New York Field Operations. "The interception of these counterfeit earbuds is a direct reflection of the vigilance and commitment to mission success by our CBP Officers daily."

Of course, Twitter users quickly picked up on the crazy mistake and retweeted the post along with their snarky remarks. My favorite, "Thank you, CBP... For keeping the streets safe from OnePlus Buds."

OnePlus Buds retail for about $80, so the CBP's estimate of the value of the 2,000-unit shipment was also grossly exaggerated. Worth only about $158,000, the crates of OnePlus Buds were nowhere close to the near $400,000 the CBP estimated. Although in its defense, it did genuinely think they were fake AirPods.

Even though the CBP's faux pas was quickly pointed out, the agency has doubled down on the seizure, per the statement at the top of the article.

Permalink to story.

 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 295   +339
These look even more similar yet when I bought them, they made it through customs out of Singapore (though it took a month and a half):

 
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Scshadow

Posts: 614   +261
One of my many theories is that patents should only be valid for no more then 5 years. If you can't monetize your product over 5 years and get your R&D money back with profit, then its probably not a good enough product anyway. After 5 years, if anyone can do it better, they should. THAT would put capitalism to work for the american people. Point being, I'm tired of Apple pulling this crap. Apply has always had overly broad design patents. I'm ready for those patents to be dead.
 
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Markoni35

Posts: 765   +267
Guilty for thinking he is a racist xenophobic ignorant guy ? Yes I am. I am very guilty.
It's not racist or xenophobic if he doesn't allow hordes of immigrants to cross the borders without any checks or qualifications. Do you also let people enter your house just because they want? Or because they are poor, and you have stuff in your house? Nope? There you go.
 

MaxSmarties

Posts: 393   +205
It's not racist or xenophobic if he doesn't allow hordes of immigrants to cross the borders without any checks or qualifications. Do you also let people enter your house just because they want? Or because they are poor, and you have stuff in your house? Nope? There you go.
I already noticed Trump has supporters here... If we are lucky enough he will be history in a few months .
 
I already noticed Trump has supporters here... If we are lucky enough he will be history in a few months .
I'm not a Trump supporter, or even American, but I find it amusing that you lot hate him so much your policy stance has diluted solely to "diametrically oppose Trump". Even when policies are sheer common sense, like having immigration controls.

If Trump started saying defund the police, you'd all campaign for martial law.
 

MaxSmarties

Posts: 393   +205
I'm not a Trump supporter, or even American, but I find it amusing that you lot hate him so much your policy stance has diluted solely to "diametrically oppose Trump". Even when policies are sheer common sense, like having immigration controls.

If Trump started saying defund the police, you'd all campaign for martial law.
There is a HUGE difference from immigration control and xenophobia