In another statement The Verge, a spokesman for the US Customs and Border Protection has defended the agency’s seizure of 2,000 pairs of OnePlus Buds at JFK airport on 31 August. Yesterday, CBP announced the action and described OnePlus Buds as “fake Apple AirPods”, which sparked a wave of controversy. It seemed like a possible gaff of border guards who somehow did not know they were blocking a real product, and OnePlus has also been ridiculed for even finding itself in this situation, thanks to the similarities between its own earbuds and AirPods.
But CBP’s statement seems to rule out that this is a mistake. What remains unanswered is why OnePlus Buds did such an investigation ̵
After examining the shipment in question, a CBP import specialist decided that the earplugs on the subject appeared to break Apple’s configuration mark. “Apple has configuration marks for their earbuds, and has registered these marks 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).”
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 “counterfeit” that identified itself as AirPods) just by looking at the box and branding? CBP’s seizure of the earplugs in question is not related to the pictures or the language on the box. A company does not have to put an ‘Apple’ word mark or design on its products to break these marks. “
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 relevant registered trademarks,” according to the CBP spokesperson. Reached earlier today, OnePlus declined to comment on the seizure. The company again rejected after seeing the CBP statement.
It is important to note that Apple itself has not taken any legal action against OnePlus over OnePlus Buds, and the earplugs are still for sale from OnePlus and many US retailers, including B&H Photo. You can still receive them without any problems, and it is unclear whether CBP plans to seize future shipments.