OnePlus Buds are everywhere in the buzz after the US Borders and Custom protection seized around 2,000 units of the OnePlus Buds at JFK airport on 31st August. The reason cited for them was the OnePlus pods were counterfeit Apple AirPods. And, this has set a wave of controversy. It seemed like a possible gaffe by border police who somehow didn’t realize they were blocking a genuine product. And OnePlus has also been mocked for even finding itself in this situation thanks to the similarities between its own earbuds and AirPods.
But this is not considered as a mistake when we look at the statement by CBP. The question that remains hanging is that; why the OnePlus Buds drew such scrutiny weeks after they had already gone on sale in; the US when the market is flooded with AirPods knockoffs. There is o scarcity of it walk inside any store such as Walmart, Best Buys, or go on Amazon you are going to find them literally everywhere.
The spokesperson said “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.”
If you are unaware of what is a configuration trademark then it is the general appearance of a product. He added, “Based on that determination, CBP officers at JFK Airport have seized the shipment under 19 USC 1526 (e).”
The CBP spokesperson also attempted to address the common response that many people have had to this incident. The response is “couldn’t their officers tell that; the OnePlus Buds were a genuine product (and not a “counterfeit” posing as AirPods); just by looking at the box and branding?”
For clarity, 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’ word mark or design on their products to violate these trademarks.”
According to the CBP spokesperson “OnePlus (or whoever imported the OnePlus Buds) will have many opportunities; through the adjudication process to provide evidence; that their product does not violate the relevant recorded trademarks.”
The company has declined to comment on the seizure. And it is also notable that Apple has not taken any legal action till now against OnePlus over the OnePlus Buds; and the earbuds remain for sale from OnePlus and many US retailers including B&H Photo. You can still go and purchase them without any issues; and it is unclear for now that whether CBP plans to seize future shipments.