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CBP Louisville seizes $331K worth of fake Apple AirPods

Officers seized eight shipments of the counterfeit earbuds. They were arriving from Hong Kong and were destined for several locations across the US.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — According to a release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Louisville, eight different shipments of Bluetooth audio devices were seized. Officers found 817 pairs of earbuds, worth an estimated $331,360, that appeared to be in violation of Apple's protected AirPods three-dimensional configuration trademark.

CBP experts confirmed that the earbuds were in violation of Apple's trademark rights and a company does not have to the "Apple" wordmark or design on their products to violate the three-dimensional trademark. 

All eight of the shipments were incoming from Hong Kong and were headed to various locations across the United States and Canada. 

“Counterfeiters are savvy and follow trends in consumer demand, including the high demand for consumer electronics during the pandemic,” CBP Acting Executive Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Trade John P. Leonard said. “Consumers should exercise extreme caution when purchasing wireless headphones and other electronic accessories from third parties, as counterfeit electronics from China have been found to contain malware that infects the consumer’s phone, tablet, or computer.”

CBP officials determined that all of the counterfeit AirPods seized can pair with genuine Apple products. 

Within the last month, in two separate seizures CBP officers in Cincinnati seized one shipment containing 36,000 fake Airpods and a week later seized another shipment containing 23,900 fake Airpods.


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