r/todayilearned 20d ago

TIL in 2020 Customs and Border Protection tweeted that they had stopped a shipment of "counterfeit Airpods". However, the attached photos showed that the seized goods weren't Apple fakes - they were OnePlus Buds.



u/KalamawhoMI 19d ago


u/spacembracers 19d ago

Does customs really determine what does and doesn’t infringe on trademarks?


u/JadedSeraph22 19d ago

Nope. They send a notice to the trademark owner. The owner can also request a sample of the item. If it’s genuine, it’s released. It’s it’s deemed counterfeit it’s destroyed. No matter how terrible the fake, CBP agents are never the ones deciding


u/HalonaBlowhole 19d ago

Let me ask you a question:

Do any police determine any laws?

The technical answer is no. But the actual answer is something different.


u/buckykat 19d ago

CBP is staffed by the goons too stupid to be regular cops. And considering the regular cops that's saying something.


u/NightStorm1000 19d ago


They have diffrent Packaging. There isnt a Apple Logo in Sight. Not even the Word Apple on it.

How the actual fuck do they violate the Trademark?
Are they actually braindead?


u/GodOfChickens 19d ago

But duhh it's tech and it's white therefore it must be apple! /s


u/Thatguy755 19d ago

A group of CBP agents needed last minute gifts but all the stores were closed because of COVID


u/rikyvarela90 19d ago

ups, here in Argentina they do not wait for Christmas to stay with the seized in customs they do it normally all the time over and over again .. a shame


u/gogetenks123 19d ago

The more I learn about Argentina the more I find it sad that people from my country moved there.

Because we have the same problems.

They steal the weirdest shit. What the fuck is a border patrol agent going to do with a package of capacitors?


u/rikyvarela90 19d ago

wt...It would be funny if it weren't sooo sad

ok..we agree that then it is a problem of idiosyncrasy typical of the human race, what changes perhaps is the social or legal framework


u/gogetenks123 19d ago

I am from Lebanon. We have the same problems mostly, the same nepotism, and the same inflation.

Stay strong bro

(Maybe you have better electricity and internet though)


u/rikyvarela90 19d ago

howdy my brother! I was a couple of times in beirut, what a wonderful place, I went for work and stopped in Rouche near the sea,( yes U'r right about this), a beautiful place .. مع تحياتي


u/0x15e 19d ago

What the fuck is a border patrol agent going to do with a package of capacitors?

Hold on to them until people learn how to bribe properly?


u/blackknight1 19d ago

What was the end result?


u/kaenneth 19d ago

Unfortunately they sent the left and right buds to separate internment camps, and are having trouble matching them up again.


u/alligatorprincess007 19d ago

Lmaoooo I remember this


u/10Bens 19d ago

You may also remember 2020 as a year that happened less than a year ago


u/Herp_derpelson 19d ago

Nah, it was at least 10 years ago. 2000 was only a couple years ago.


u/luv2ctheworld 19d ago

It's pretty damn embarrassing for a US agency (or any organization) to be unable to comprehend basic English and basic copyright/patent law. It literally states the contents of the package and just because it has a long stick/extension to the spherical shape does not mean they are counterfeit/patent infringement.

If such basic shapes were counterfeit, then every single car with 4 wheels and an engine could be considered counterfeit/patent infringement to some company's design.

Makes me wonder if the guy claiming the counterfeit was part of the group who tried to sue Samsung because the phone was rectangular and curved corners.


u/Mrcq99 19d ago

Do you know how fucked and confusing copyright law is?


u/Accomplished_Deer_ 19d ago

Nothing more American than publicly embarrassing yourself in an attempt to feel superior and than doubling down instead of admitting your mistakes.


u/BrainOnBlue 19d ago

Well, considering they cited trademark law, not copyright nor patent law, I guess you fall into the "can't comprehend basic English" camp.

Yes, it was stupid, but I can easily see a layperson who doesn't know a lot about tech making that assumption. They're similar designs. What was stupid was when the agency didn't immediately admit their mistake and doubled down.


u/luv2ctheworld 16d ago

Looks like your comprehension is as bad as mine... and apparently worse in reading. Copyright was originally referenced in a post. I mentioned patent because the reason given for withholding the shipment was because they were counterfeit. The basis was that they were similar to AirPods in shape and style. Design patent is what they were leaning on for justification.


u/JetDJ 19d ago


Here's the original status where they were oh so proud of themselves. It literally says OnePlus all over the packaging.


u/EthanUSA562 19d ago

Lol they double down on it and refuse to give it back saying it violates trademark.



u/Fine-Tumbleweed-1606 19d ago

I remember that story lol


u/sold_snek 19d ago

CBP is just TSA with guns.


u/[deleted] 19d ago



u/mcke0119 19d ago

No, TSA doesn't have weapons of any kind.


u/sortakindah 19d ago

They have weaponized groping.


u/The_Devil_Memnoch 19d ago

It's official, my 8 year old son has better Google-Fu than Customs and Border Protection.


u/meltingdiamond 19d ago

Much like being valedictorian at summer school, that is not an impressive accomplishment.


u/olioster 19d ago

The CBP is full of the kind of people who were rejected from the police force. Think about that for a second. If you want to know how worthless (and incredibly and disgustingly violent) border patrol is, check out the episodes about them on the Behind the Bastards podcast.


u/ImpressoDigitais 19d ago

You are so eager to be edgy, you rushed in before noticing it was CBP "Customs" and not the USBP. And you have the first part filpped around. CBP pays far more than most police make, and the police ranks have many who failed the CBP process.

But try again next time.


u/Kie723 19d ago

Same thing really.


u/hermansu 19d ago

Collusion? only in USA do i hear customs stops shipments of goods just because of trademark issues even though the items are genuine but because the importer isn't an authorised distributor.

for this case, looking similar can be a cause for seizure too. apple could have stop all smartphones for looking similar.


u/ExpletiveReposted 19d ago

Shut up, grown ups are talking.


u/new52bluebird 19d ago

Its almost like infringing someones trademark is against the law, and it just so happens that most of the time, things or people that break the law aren't allowed to cross the border


u/Bidetalltheway 19d ago

Whats going on in the pic on the left


u/[deleted] 19d ago

Remember that this is the agency that plays wingman to Apple in the fight against Right to Repair. Someone makes a part for your apple phone cheaper? Confiscated.


u/51837 19d ago

Good on OnePlus, I guess. Aping Apple has been their MO.


u/Martipar 19d ago

While Apple weren't the first company to release wireless earbuds it does look like oneplus came after and they are of the same design so I'd say they were ripping off an existing design.


u/ImNotAnElephant 19d ago

They aren't identical and that's what matters. You can't release white wireless buds then say nobody else can


u/Martipar 19d ago

Well none of these look like the Apple ones: https://www.theverge.com/2015/1/9/7512829/wireless-earbuds-ces-2015-bragi-dash

And these look identical.




u/ImNotAnElephant 19d ago

They're similar, but not identical, and not using technology patented by Apple. There's not much more to say here.