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US CBP Insists OnePlus Buds Violates Trademarks As It Defend Seizure

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It appears there is more to what was perceived as a US Custom and Border Protection Agency (CBP) gaffe after announcing that it seized counterfeit Apple Airpods, which were actually OnePlus Buds. The US CBP defended its actions in a statement to The Verge.


The agency seized 2,000 pairs of OnePlus Buds at JFK airport on 31st August 2020. After the announcement, the agency was mocked because people thought they made the mistake because of the similarity between it and Apple’s Airpods.


However, according to CBP’s statement, it seems it knew just exactly what it was doing. The CBP says the OnePlus buds violates Apple’s configuration trademark. Configuration trademarks refer to the general appearance of a product.

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“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. Based on that determination, CBP officers at JFK Airport have seized the shipment under 19 USC 1526 (e),” the spokesperson said.


This means that although OnePlus Buds are a genuine product and not counterfeit Apple AirPods; the “CBP’s seizure of the earbuds in question is unrelated to the images or language on the box. A company does not have to put an ‘Apple’ wordmark or design on their products to violate these trademarks.”


The CBP says OnePlus “will have many opportunities through the adjudication process to provide evidence that their product does not violate the relevant recorded trademarks”. OnePlus has not responded to the CBP’s statement, however, its Buds are still on sale all over the US.


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