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OnePlus Buds confused for counterfeit Apple AirPods by US Customs in bust

The purported "AirPods" seized by US Customs. (Image: USCPB)
The purported "AirPods" seized by US Customs. (Image: USCPB)
US Customs has embarrassed itself and OnePlus in issuing a press release claiming to have seized US$398,000 worth of “counterfeit Apple AirPod Earbuds.” It was only when a tweet was posted showing examples from the purported hall that it became clear to observers that they were merely OnePlus Buds.

In a story that has got plenty of people having a chuckle, the US Customs has posted both a media release and a tweet claiming to have thwarted a haul of “counterfeit Apple AirPod earbuds.” According to the Customs post, “If the merchandise were genuine, the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) would have been US$398,000.” However, photos of alleged haul have revealed quite clearly on the packaging that they are in fact official OnePlus Buds and not counterfeit at all.

In fact, as some observers have pointed out, US Customs should have been aware that counterfeit items typically include fake branding as well -- this is clearly not the case here there is no Apple branding to be found on the box but indeed it shows OnePlus Buds branding quite obviously. The media release is still live at the time of writing as is the tweet although we suspect that both will be withdrawn in relatively short order.

It does, however, rather comically throw a spotlight on the undeniable similarity between the OnePlus Buds and Apple’s own AirPods. Chinese companies have routinely been criticized for knocking off Apple’s designs as well as designs from other makers. Intellectual property is not effectively policed by Chinese authorities either, making it difficult for international companies to initiate lawsuits as well. In fairness, while undoubtedly inspired by Apple AirPods, the OnePlus Buds look sufficiently different that it is unlikely they would even fall foul of US IP laws.

This image clearly shows that the seized items are official OnePlus Buds. (Image: USCPB)
This image clearly shows that the seized items are official OnePlus Buds. (Image: USCPB)
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 09 > OnePlus Buds confused for counterfeit Apple AirPods by US Customs in bust
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2020-09-14 (Update: 2020-09-14)
Sanjiv Sathiah
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have grown to enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture out now on Spotify.