Pearl Narang is a final year law student of B.B.A.LL.B (Hons.) at Chandigarh University, Mohali and is currently interning as a Trainee in Business World Legal Community. She is also pursuing a diploma in Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. She is passionate about both law and writing.
OnePlus released its first true wireless earbuds, called the OnePlus Buds. The Buds became popular for their balanced audio and fast charging. The OnePlus Buds' design is similar to Apple's AirPods. These Buds have been on sale for some time in the United States. Apple itself hasn’t expressed any issue or taken any legal action with the OnePlus Buds. But the US Customs department has a different opinion.
OnePlus Buds infringe trademark of Apple's AirPods
Last month, US Customs and Border Patrol department (CBP) detained a shipment of OnePlus Buds at the JFK Airport. The shipment containing 2,000 pairs of OnePlus Buds was held on charges that it contained counterfeit versions of Apple’s AirPods.
As reported by The Verge, the US Customs department is sure that the OnePlus Buds violate the trademarks of Apple’s AirPods. According to them, the configuration trademarks of the AirPods are quite similar to the product design of the OnePlus version and hence need investigation.
“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 of the US Customs 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.
Initial press release did not mention about trademark infringement
It is pertinent to note that the initial press release that announced the seizure of OnePlus Buds didn’t mention the trademark infringement but now the new statement from the department says that the reason for seizure is a trademark violation.
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