US Customs and Border Protection tweeted that its officers had “recently seized 2,000 counterfeit Apple AirPods”. But upon looking at the photos they tweeted, the seized products appear to be OnePlus Buds—and it seems like they are sticking with their conclusion.
“CBP Officers are protecting the American public from various dangers on a daily basis. The interception of these counterfeit earbuds is a direct reflection of the vigilance and commitment to mission success by our CBP Officers daily,” said Troy Miller, Director of CBP’s New York Field Operations in a statement.
CBP said that officers seized “2,000 counterfeit Apple Airpod Earbuds” from Hong Kong destined for Nevada at an air cargo facility located at John F. Kennedy International Airport. It’s not clear if all 2,000 units were OnePlus Buds, but it’s assumed through the photos they’ve posted.
Meanwhile, Twitter users have been either for or against the block. OnePlus USA even tweeted a reply to the CBP tweet, playfully asking them to “give those back”.
“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. Based on that determination, CBP officers at JFK Airport have seized the shipment under 19 USC 1526 (e),” a CBP spokesperson said in a following statement.
The CBP spokesperson also said that OnePlus (or the importer) “will have many opportunities through the adjudication process to provide evidence that their product does not violate the relevant recorded trademarks.”
The OnePlus Buds do share some of the same characteristics as the Apple AirPods, including their colour, general shape, and the metallic ring around the bottom of the buds. But the AirPods case is rectangular, not a semi-circle. The heads of the OnePlus Buds are also differently shaped.
The Buds had already gone on sale in the U.S. for weeks. And if the CBP are really concerned with the violations of Apple’s trademark, why aren’t they also stopping the sales of actual AirPods knockoffs on Amazon?