Today, in the morning, a good-natured tweet from Chinese manufacturer OnePlus in response to US customs circulated on the web. CBP (US Customs and Border Protection) seized 2,000 pairs of OnePlus Buds headsets for allegedly being “counterfeit AirPods”, which was interpreted by many as a mistake at first. But it appears that there was, in fact, no mistake – or at least, that is what the American agency wants to make it look like.
In a statement to the The Verge, customs say the OnePlus Buds would have infringed Apple’s trademark – even though there was no mention of the company or AirPods on the product packaging.
“CBP’s seizure of the headphones in question is not related to the images or the language on the box. A company does not need to put an ‘Apple’ brand or design on its products to violate those brands, ”explained a CBP spokesman.
Side by side, however, it is easy to notice some differences between the headphones. Starting with the case, which is round in OnePlus Buds. Just do a little search on Amazon to find products much more similar (and that would easily fit the verdict given to OnePlus).
The big mystery, therefore, is the real reason why CBP has investigated the OnePlus Buds so thoroughly – especially since the look of the AirPods has already been used as inspiration for several other brands, and Apple has not filed a lawsuit against the Chinese manufacturer over the headphones. It is not known whether customs will take the same action with future shipments of this model – or if, when everyone has forgotten, the agency will pretend that it never happened.
CBP also says that OnePlus will be able to appeal and provide evidence to refute the analysis. The company has yet to comment on the matter.