In a statement to The lip, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman defended the agency’s seizure of 2,000 pairs of OnePlus Buds at JFK Airport on Aug. 31. Last night, CBP published the action and described OnePlus Buds as “fake Apple AirPods” which sparked a wave of controversy. It seemed like a potential weakness for border guards who somehow did not realize they were blocking a genuine product, and the OnePlus has also been fooled into being in this situation, thanks to the similarities between its headphones and AirPods.
But the CBP statement seems to rule out that this is wrong. What remains unanswered is why the OnePlus Buds did such a check – weeks after they were already on sale in the US – when the market was flooded with AirPods knockouts.
“During the examination of this mission, a CBP import expert found that the underlying headphones appear to be infringing the Apple configuration brand. “Apple has configuration trademarks in the headphone brand and has registered these trademarks with CBP,” the spokesman said. Configuration brands cover the overall look of a product, if you are wondering. “Based on this decision, CBP officers at JFK Airport have taken over the mission in accordance with 19 USC 1526 (e).”
The CBP spokesman also tried to address the common response many people had to this incident: their officers could not say that the OnePlus Buds was a genuine product (and not a “fake” one posing as AirPods) just by looking at the box and brand name? “The seizure of these headphones by CBP is not related to the images or language on the box. A company does not need to affix an” Apple “mark or design to its products to infringe on these trademarks.”
OnePlus (or whoever introduced the OnePlus Buds) “will have many opportunities through the litigation process to prove that their product does not infringe the relevant trademarks,” according to a CBP spokesman. Arriving earlier today, OnePlus declined to comment on the seizure. The company refused again after seeing the CBP statement.