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Customs Seized a Shipment of "Counterfeit" AirPods

The US Customs and Border Patrol announced that they had intercepted a shipment of counterfeit Apple AirPods from Hong Kong.

On August 31, CBP 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. If the merchandise were genuine, the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) would have been $398,000.

“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.”

However, it is clear from the pictures they posted that these are OnePlus Buds. They are even labeled as OnePlus, and there is no attempt on the package to claim they are any kind of Apple product. OnePlus sells wireless ear buds at around half the price of AirPods, and they have a different shape. See a comparison of the two brands at Geekologie. Many people responded to the announcement to let CBP know it made a mistake, but the agency is not backing down.

“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,” the spokesperson said. Configuration trademarks cover the general appearance of a product, if you were wondering. “Based on that determination, CBP officers at JFK Airport have seized the shipment under 19 USC 1526 (e).”

OnePlus introduced its wireless earbuds on June 24th, and Apple has made no attempt to claim intellectual property rights under their trademark.


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