back to article Bad apples: US customs seize OnePlus earbuds thinking they're knock-off AirPods

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is tasked with protecting the country from terrorists, clandestine immigrants, agricultural pests, and anyone with a funny accent. Add to that list Chinese tech brand OnePlus, which has had 2,000 of its wireless earbuds seized under the belief that they were counterfeit Apple AirPods. …

  1. MiguelC Silver badge

    Wouldn't it be funny if China customs also seized an AirPod shipment for looking like counterfeit OnePlus Buds?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      I like your thinking :)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Or Germany seizes a boatload of Lexuses (Lexi ?) as fake Mercs

  2. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


    Dumb... not that someone thought "OnePlus" was "fake Apple." Dumb that customs is taking it upon themselves to begin with to decide that a product is "counterfeit" when it is in what is obviously the package it will be sold in, and that package in no way resembles the package Apple would use.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Dumb

      The dumb part is not reading the paperwork, assuming the mental midgets can read. There all sorts of paperwork associated with the shipment that will describe the goods. Probably more worried the price was wrong so they are not getting enough duty.

  3. Flak

    Should have put a Prepear logo on them to make them completely indistinguishable!

    Certainly for the Apple IP lawyers...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How can we be sure

    that they were real CBP Officers?

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: How can we be sure

      How can we be sure that this is the real Register?

      This brings my whole perception of reality into question.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: How can we be sure

        If you're imagining me you have a serious medical problem.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: How can we be sure

        "How can we be sure that this is the real Register?"

        I've been reading for years. Now I'm reading It's looks similar, but I can't really be sure.

        1. joeW

          Re: How can we be sure

          Jesus monkeyballs, when did that happen?!

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: How can we be sure

          A rose by any other name ...

      3. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: How can we be sure


        1. Robert Helpmann??

          Re: How can we be sure


          Computer says "No".

      4. CountCadaver

        Re: How can we be sure

        PKD could have helped you with that....maybe

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: How can we be sure

      that they were real CBP Officers?

      Easy, fake ones aren't that stupid.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So Customs is using Package Recognition AI now ?

    "The interception of these counterfeit earbuds is a direct reflection of the vigilance and commitment to mission success by our CBP Officers daily. "

    Nope. It's a direct reflection of how little you're paying attention to what you're actually looking at. As for mission success, it is hardly a success to block something that has nothing to do with what you're looking for. That's called a false positive, and you should correct that.

    Except that, this is the Trump era, and we all know that you're just doing your bit to bother China in any way you can, even if it is wrong.

  6. Claverhouse Silver badge

    As the Sirens Sound...

    "CBP Officers are protecting the American public from various dangers on a daily basis," said Troy Miller, director of CBP's New York Field Operations


    Rogue Earbuds !!

    The summer blockbuster writes itself.

    [ Though a sizeable section of the American audience will spell it 'Rouge'. ]


    [ As well, why are they so fucking pompous and self-congratulatory ? ]

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: Rouge Earbuds

      At least if they were rouge it'd be even harder to make the stupid assessment they're trying rip off Apple.

  7. mark l 2 Silver badge

    This is the sort of thing that happens when government agencies are more interested in what they post on social media than actually doing their jobs correctly.

  8. DS999 Silver badge

    Perhaps CBP

    Should wait to verify the products they seized are in fact counterfeit before crowing about the seizure on Twitter and making themselves look like idiots.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps CBP

      Very nice idea, unfortunately they are unable to execute it because they are idiots (or high level genius monkeys, just as likely for those peanuts that salary).

    2. DerekCurrie

      Re: Perhaps CBP

      Considering the constant theft of IP (intellectual property) from around the world by China: Criminal Nation over the past 20+ years, the default expectation/assumption is that if it looks like a ripoff, it must be a ripoff. But in this case, despite some similarity in the devices to those of Apple, there's obviously enough difference to trigger a default conference with Apple before proclaiming them as ripoffs. Occasionally Chinese companies will, inexplicably, invent and innovate. Considering the incentive killing idiocy of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), I have no idea why this is the case. But it does happen! And when it does, I take interest and occasionally buy the result!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This should be on their website footer,

    "US Customs and Border Protection, a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple Inc."

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Well, this is also the place that tried to force access to an Apple-owned corporate laptop, so maybe they're just jerks who don't quite understand how to do the "protection" part of their ostensible job.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        IMHO, the sentence was complete when you said "maybe they're just jerks"..

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          ...and the "maybe" is redundant.

  10. Jonathon Green

    If you’ve ever wondered what sort of person would want to work for an organisation like CPB you now have your answer...

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Hmm, do we qualify this as a "person"?

      "It's life, Jim, but not as we know it"

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Anybody too stupid to get an honest job?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Incoming defamation lawsuit in 3... 2... 1...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nah, don't forget that the Barr is now set low over there.

      1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

        Shoot-now-ask-questions-later policy working.

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Incoming defamation lawsuit in 3... 2... 1...

      More likely a secret trial for leaking official secrets.

  12. jake Silver badge

    One wonders how long it is going to take ...

    ... the next PotUS to clean up all the shit Trump has managed to smear over every aspect of the Federal Government.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: One wonders how long it is going to take ...

      Isn't this standard politics for a politician and/or party expecting to lose?

      Fuck things up so much the next administration has spend their term undoing the damage and further disenchanting the voters, causing that administration to get kicked out at the subsequent election.

  13. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Violation of trademark

    As per the story - this appears to be a violation of Apple's Configuration Trademark which makes siexure a reasonable course of action.

    In the US you can register your product with CBP with respect to its design - so if it resembles an earbud, even if it's printed with a dayglo blue logo sayning "not produced by any fruity company" it could still be in violation of Apple's Configuration Trademark.

  14. MJI Silver badge

    Good job not electric toothbrush heads

    Or they would get seized as well.

  15. Patched Out

    I had ear buds once. An anti-fungal cream was prescribed.

  16. HKmk23

    I always said

    Apple lovers wear one leg of their trousers inside out......

  17. Juan Inamillion

    The phrase 'clutching at straws...'

    "CBP officers at JFK Airport recently seized 2,000 counterfeit Apple AirPods"

    Then it was pointed out that the goods weren't packaged as 'Apple Airpods' so can't be called counterfeit.

    Whoops! Better find some other tenuous reason to save our sad arse.

    “Upon examining the shipment in question, a CBP Import Specialist determined that the subject earbuds appeared to violate Apple’s configuration trademark,”

    Job done!

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021