OnePlus Buds seized by US Customs said to violate AirPods trademark

A few months ago, OnePlus released its first true wireless earbuds, called the OnePlus Buds. The Buds got good reviews from us for their balanced audio and faster charging. They look good too, given the funky color schemes and the AirPods-resembling design. Well, the US Customs and Border Protection have issues with the design of Buds. On August 31, the US Customs detained a batch of the OnePlus Buds for trademark violations.

Reports suggest that the US Customs and Border Patrol detained a shipment of OnePlus Buds at the JFK Airport on August 31. The shipment contained 2,000 pairs of OnePlus Buds. The Customs held the shipment on charges that it contained counterfeit versions of Apple’s AirPods. While the Internet was laughing it out as a joke, it seems that the US Customs is not yet convinced.

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In a report from The Verge, the US Customs are sure that the OnePlus Buds violate the trademarks of Apple’s AirPods. They say the configuration trademarks of the AirPods are quite similar to the product design of the OnePlus version, and hence need investigation. In fact, one of the spokespersons also gave a statement to the publication regarding the issue.

Do OnePlus Buds violate Apple’s trademark?

“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.

“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. OnePlus will have many opportunities through the adjudication process to provide evidence that their product does not violate the relevant recorded trademarks,” said the spokesperson further.

The case seems weird as the OnePlus Buds have been on sale for some time in the US. Apple itself hasn’t expressed any issue with the OnePlus Buds so far. However, the US customs has evidence to suggest the Buds violating the trademark filed by Apple. OnePlus is yet to come up with a formal statement on the matter.

Most wireless earbuds these days have a design that emulates the Apple AirPods. In India, the Realme Buds Air looks like a clone of the AirPods, complete with its case and earbuds design. OnePlus’ design differs vastly in comparison and brings some of its own advantages such as 30W fast charging. You can buy the OnePlus Buds currently at a price of Rs 4,990.


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