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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 The media release is still live at the time of writing as is the tweet although we suspect that both will be withdrawn in relatively short order.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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Sanjiv Sathiah
Sanjiv Sathiah - Senior Tech Writer - 1360 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I have been writing about consumer technology over the past ten years, previously with the former MacNN and Electronista, and now Notebookcheck since 2017. My first computer was an Apple ][c and this sparked a passion for Apple, but also technology in general. In the past decade, I’ve become increasingly platform agnostic and love to get my hands on and explore as much technology as I can get my hand on. Whether it is Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Nintendo, Xbox, or PlayStation, each has plenty to offer and has given me great joy exploring them all. I was drawn to writing about tech because I love learning about the latest devices and also sharing whatever insights my experience can bring to the site and its readership.
contact me via: @t3mporarybl1p
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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)