McKenna says the OnePlus Buds listed at a cost of more than half of the AirPods could be registered as another strike on CBP’s limited checklist. Selling the same-looking thing for very little is likely to set an alarm.
What CBP seizure does not mean, however, is that OnePlus Buds are suddenly verboten in the US. (You can still buy them now at most online electronics retailers.) The final word on that is the courts, not the CBP, and the legal system takes into account more factors when considering trademark infringement. “A legal test for infringement of a trademark is likely to be confusing,” McKenna says. That is where explicit branding comes into play; One would think they were buying Apple products despite being on the OnePlus box.
So what happens next? CBP will shut down OnePlus Buds for up to 30 days. OnePlus, which was once notified, has the same amount of time to file a denial. And perhaps the courts will ultimately decide whether Apple’s trademark has been infringed, which CBP itself noted. The agency said in its statement, “The importer will have multiple opportunities to provide evidence to prove that their product does not infringe on the respective recorded trademarks.”
Importers take crops in every industry; This year’s runway is the next year’s target sales rack. It is an unusual move for CBP to take dramatic action against an established company like OnePlus. The US government has behaved of late and more hostile towards Chinese companies trying to do business in the US, as reflected in Ticktock’s precarious uncertain fate in other recent actions. Nevertheless, given that China has been a major source of counterfeit and pirated goods for years, according to the CBP, it is unclear whether the OnePlus case is part of broader political growth.
“The majority of product seizures are pure counterfeit and everyone knows it,” says McKenna. “How this particular shipment got into that classification, I don’t know. But it will be interesting to see what happens. “
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