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Feds seize 'counterfeit Apple AirPods' that turn out to be OnePlus Buds

Oneplus Buds Review
Oneplus Buds Review (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Update, September 14 (4:40 pm ET): A CPB spokesperson has clarified that the shipment was seized for on "Apple's configuration trademark".

What you need to know

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seized a shipment of "counterfeit Apple Airpod earbuds," which are actually OnePlus Buds.
  • They were seized at an air cargo facility at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
  • The shipment originated from Hong Kong and was headed to Nevada.

In what can only be described as an embarrassing gaffe, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seized a shipment of OnePlus Buds from Hong Kong, mistaking them for counterfeit Apple AirPods.

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While there is no doubt that the OnePlus Buds look a lot like the Apple AirPods in White, the retail boxes make it quite clear that they are legitimate products made by OnePlus. In a tweet announcing the seizure, CBP says the shipment would be valued at $398K, had they been genuine. CBP has also issued a press release praising its officers who intercepted the "counterfeit earbuds."

Troy Miller, Director of CBP's New York Field Operations, said in a statement:

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.

The shipment was seized at an air cargo facility located at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on August 31.

Update, September 14 (4:40 pm ET) — CPB spokesperson says shipment was seized for on "Apple's configuration trademark.

In a statement given to The Verge, a CPB spokesperson has expanded on the statement from its press release from the 11th and clarified that even though the OnePlus Buds do not have any Apple branding, they are still apparently infringing upon a trademark of how AirPods are positioned in their case:

"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. 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."

A configuration trademark is apparently a trademark on how a product is designed or arranged, and if that is why the OnePlus Buds are being held by customs in New York, then clearly (opens in new tab) they haven't (opens in new tab) been doing (opens in new tab) their job (opens in new tab) for months (opens in new tab) and months (opens in new tab).

Oneplus Buds White Render

OnePlus Buds

The OnePlus Buds are an affordable pair of true wireless earbuds that offer good sound quality, excellent battery life, and great value. However, the wireless earbuds aren't the most feature-rich, and their design is quite clearly "inspired" by Apple's AirPods.

Babu Mohan
Babu Mohan
5 Comments
  • Feel safer America? Your customs security at work. 🤣
  • I suppose they're being roasted in the comments on that tweet?
  • Legitimate product seized by CBP, and negative press that ultimately damaged one plus image, and a follow up tweet from CBP? I smell a lawsuit.... Unless Apple filed suit against one plus and courts determined one plus infringed on apples designs and there is a ban in place, this is a big f up on CBP part. Something had to make CBP flag the shipment upon entry.... Either a MET exam for starters, or maybe that particular fty was already flagged for counterfeit products. I would be super pissed if I was on one plus legal team
  • How can they be counterfeit if they are labeled OnePlus? Just because their from Chinnnnnah !!!
  • Feds make stupid mistake, try to cover themselves by using another angle...