Original story 1
“CBP officers seized 2,000 counterfeit Apple Airpod earplugs from Hong Kong destined for Nevada at an air freight facility,” the agency wrote in a press release dated Friday. “If the goods were genuine, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) would have been $ 398,000.”
CBP was right about two things, at least: the earplugs that were shipped from Hong Kong, and they are not Apple AirPods. But it’s about all the credit you can give it. Judging by the photos CBP itself shared in both the press release and the tweet, the earplugs are in no way counterfeit Apple products. They do not say “Apple” on the packaging, they do not have an Apple logo anywhere, and they have no other images or text linking them to Apple.
Instead, they are, according to the box, completely legitimate OnePlus Buds, in white, selling for $ 79. MSRP for the entire party of 2000 comes in at $ 158,000 – less than half of CBP’s estimate for a shipment of Apple AirPods with a wireless charging case.
OnePlus, based in Shenzhen, China, makes Android phones and accessories. The latest, OnePlus North, received extremely positive reviews earlier this summer for packing high-end Android performance and design into a $ 450 device.
Counterfeit goods are a real problem, as CBP explains in its press release. The agency says that nationwide in the last fiscal year it seized around 27,600 shipments of counterfeit goods, which would have been worth about $ 1.5 billion if they were real. Anyone who has ever shopped at Amazon or a dozen other online retailers knows how challenging it can be to find genuine items, especially when shopping for something like a replacement charging cable. The fake stuff, in addition to frustrating the companies that are being ripped off, can be really dangerous for consumers.
Usually, someone trying to sell a counterfeit puts some effort into making it look like the real thing, instead of covering it up in a brand for a completely different, completely legitimate product.
Update 14:59 EDT: After Ars published this story, CBP responded to our request for comment by apparently doubling down on the seizure.
“After examining the shipment in question, a CBP Import specialist determined that the earplugs in question appeared to violate Apple’s configuration mark. Apple has trademarks for configuring their earplugs, and has registered these marks with CBP,” said a spokesman for the agency. . “Based on this decision, CBP officers at JFK Airport have seized the shipment under 19 USC 1526 (e). CBP’s seizure of the relevant earplugs is not related to the pictures or the language on the box. A company does not need to put an” Apple word mark or design on their products to infringe those marks. The importer will have many opportunities through the appraisal process to provide proof that their product does not infringe the relevant registered trademarks. “