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Thousands of OnePlus Buds, Presumed to be Apple Airpods, held by the CBP

Thousands of OnePlus Buds, presumed to be Apple Airpods, held by the CBP

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has stated that they have laid their hands on a huge shipment of Apple Airpods. However, in reality, all of these turned out to be OnePlus Buds.

On 31st August, CBP officials claimed that they had caught hold of about 2000 Airpods at the JFK International Airport at Newark. These were presumably considered Apple Airpods, which arrived from Hong Kong and were headed to Nevada. However, it so turned out that instead of Apple Airpods, these were OnePlus Buds. DHS has provided the images of these earbuds that are not very clear. 

Post seizing these counterfeit Apple Airpods, CBP called for a press release in which it stated that those Apple Airpods held a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $398,000 if they were for real. However, as they are OnePlus Buds, their value stands at $158,000, considering that each one costs about $79. 

Troy Miller, who is the director of CBP’s field operations at New York, said, “CBP Officers are protecting the American public from various dangers on a daily basis. The interception of these counterfeit earbuds is a direct reflection of the vigilance and commitment to mission success by our CBP Officers daily.”

The CBP has been seizing such items every year. These are just a section of them. In the financial year (FY) of 2019, around 27,599 consignments were held by the CBP. These parcels contained items that breached the rules of intellectual property rights (IPR). Likewise, in FY 2018, many such goods were held by the CBP. These held goods had a total value of about $1.4 billion. If they were for real, then these items would have cost about $1.5 billion. 

The items that topped the list of seized ones were mostly watches and jewelry. These accounted for about 15% of the total number of seizures. Going by the goods seized based on MSRP value, again, watches and jewelry had a cost of over $687 million, representing about 44% of the total MSRP value of held items. Clothes and accessories ranked second in terms of the MSRP value, having a cost of about a little more than $226 million.

The CBP has given no further information related to the seized Airpods. Also, it is not clear how one mistake these pods as Apple-branded ones made, especially as no Apple logo is present, even though they look quite a lot like Apple Airpods. 

About Intellectual Property Rights

The CBP has all the authority to detain and hold or even destroy any goods or merchandise coming into the United States in case it contains an infringing trademark or copyright that has been listed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or the U.S. Copyright Office (USCOP), and post which, the same infringement case has been registered with the CBP. The Intellectual Property Right owner can contact the CBP in case he wishes to obtain border enforcement of the registered trademarks via the CBP’s e-Recordation Program.

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