Earlier today, the Fed seized the ‘fake Apple AirPods’ that turned out to be OnePlus Buds. While many had initially thought that the seizure was a gaff on behalf of the US government, the CBP seems to be doubling down on its actions.
In a statement to The Verge, CBP said that after examining the shipment, a specialist at the department determined that the headphones actually “break Apple’s configuration mark.”
“After examining the shipment in question, a CBP import specialist determined that the earplugs appear to violate Apple’s configuration trademark. Apple has trademarks for configuring their earplugs, and has registered these trademarks with CBP,” the spokesman said. Configuration marks cover the overall look of a product, if you were wondering. “Based on this decision, CBP officers at JFK Airport have seized the shipment under 19 USC 1526 (e).”
In response to many who pointed out that the packaging clearly shows that the headphones are legitimate products from OnePlus, CBP says that their determination is “not related to the pictures or the language on the box.”
The CBP spokesman also tried to address the common response that many people have had to this incident: could not their officers tell that OnePlus Buds was a real product (and not a “fake” that came out as AirPods) just by looking at the box and branding? “CBP’s seizures of the earplugs in question are not related to the pictures or the language on the box. A company does not need to put an” Apple “mark or design on its products to infringe those marks.”
The department says that OnePlus will have an opportunity to prove that the product does not infringe Apple’s trademarks.
OnePlus (or the one that imported OnePlus Buds) “will have many opportunities through the review process to provide evidence that their product does not infringe the registered trademarks,” according to a CBP spokesman. Reached earlier today, OnePlus declined to comment on the seizure. The company again rejected after seeing the CBP statement.
Both Apple and OnePlus have refused to comment on the situation so far.