Even the best of us have trouble seeing the difference between AirPods and their many lookalikes. But when Customs and Border Protection bragged on Twitter after seizing a package of 2,000 counterfeit AirPods, internet sleuths quickly pointed out that the “counterfeit AirPods” are actually OnePlus Buds, with OnePlus branding, in OnePlus packaging.
Updated 9/14: It appears that US Customs is doubling down on its decision to seize the package of OnePlus Buds. In a statement to The Verge, a CBP spokesperson clarified that the OnePlus Buds were seized because they “violate Apple’s configuration trademark.” In other words, they look too much like AirPods.
No, Apple hasn’t taken legal action against OnePlus. When you consider the unlimited number of AirPods lookalikes on Amazon, it’s safe to assume that CBP is just making up an excuse to cover for incompetence.
We’ll continue to keep up with the story as new information comes out.
US Customs mistook legitimate (and plainly labeled) OnePlus Buds for counterfeit AirPods. Photos included in the agency’s September 13th Twitter post show a set of OnePlus Buds inside and outside of their retail packaging. CBP shared additional photos of the “counterfeit” buds with FOX5 NY, including a picture of at least 20 OnePlus Buds. (By the way—did CBP intentionally chew up that earbud shown at the top of FOX5’s article?)
Hey, give those back! 🙃
— OnePlus➕ (@OnePlus_USA) September 14, 2020
CBP’s New York City division originally tweeted about its “counterfeit AirPods” caper on 9/11. The organization claimed that profits from counterfeit goods can “potentially subsidize criminal or terrorist activities.” That’s good to know, but not a single CBP employee involved in this story took the time to Google “OnePlus Buds.”
In case you’re wondering, CBP hasn’t deleted its tweets or rewritten its press release. We don’t know if the OnePlus Buds are still stuck in customs, but they’re worth about $158 thousand altogether, if that makes any difference.
Source: CBP NYC