Well, this is one for the books — US Customs and Border Protection have seized a significant number of OnePlus Buds as “counterfeit Apple Airpods”. The estimated value of the seizure was “2,000 counterfeit Apple AirPods from Hong Kong, valued at US$398K had they been genuine” but there’s bad news — they are genuine OnePlus hardware and worth approximately US$158,000!

On the surface a pretty amusing gaff, but if you’ve got the time to read the twitter thread it gets even funnier. Particularly with the response from the OnePlus USA account:

Later though, the reason for the seizure is later changed to a violation of trademark it gets funnier. The change in tact seemed to quickly follow the Twitter thread where it was clearly highlighted that they are in fact, genuine hardware. The Verge obtained a statement from the CBP noting:

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

Further noting that despite the fact that the OnePlus Buds don’t have an Apple logo, or any other identifying feature that could cause mistaken identification they still apparently (untested in court) infringe on a trademark. Unsurprisingly, OnePlus has not made any official comment on the matter and interestingly, Apple has not requested any legal action.

The available information suggests that the decision was made by the CBP team to seize this hardware based on its appearance or origin which us wonder, are we looking at the next coming of the patent wars?

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This so called trade war would just make it difficult for both side. Eventually consumers will be the one to suffer.


It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the next shipment of OnePlus ear buds arriving in the USA. Unless CBP stop all similar shipments, this is clearly them doubling down on a cock up by an untrained member of staff. Although given recent events, who would be surprised at anything that happens in the USA at the moment, especially where Chinese companies are concerned.