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HQ 084302

August 29, 1990

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 084302 SR


TARIFF NO.: 737.24

Jean McGuire
Area Director of Customs
New York Seaport
6 World Trade Center
New York, New York 10048

RE: Decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 1001-7-010775.

Dear Sir:

This protest was filed against your decision in the liquidation on May 1, 1987, of entry number 86716233-0, dated September 24, 1986, covering a shipment of plastic bottles in the shape of humans.


The merchandise at issue consists of plastic bottles that are shaped like military men. These bottles, which are imported empty, will be used to pack, transport and market shampoo or bubble bath. They are designed as Warrant Officers and Missile Specialists. The head of the person is removed and under that is a screw cap that is removed to pour the shampoo or bubble bath that is contained in the bottle.

The bottles were classified under item 737.24, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), which provides for dolls. The protestant claims that the merchandise is classifiable under item 772.20, TSUS, as containers, of rubber or plastic, with or without their closures, chiefly used for the packing, transporting or marketing of merchandise.


Whether the merchandise at issue is classifiable as dolls.


Item 737.24, TSUS, provides for dolls, other, dolls. The protestant claims that the merchandise cannot be a doll because it will be disposed of after use, and will not be reused. The protestant claims that it must be classified under item 772.20, TSUS, as containers, of rubber or plastics, with or without their closures, chiefly used for the packing, transporting, or marketing of merchandise, bottles. However, Schedule 7, Subpart E headnote 1, states that the articles described in the provisions of this subpart (except parts) shall be classified in such provisions, whether or not such articles are more specifically provided for elsewhere in the tariff schedules. Therefore, if the bottles are classifiable as dolls and as bottles, they must be classified as dolls.

To be classified as a doll, an item is not required to provide amusement to children. As stated in Louis Wolf & Co., Inc. v. United States, 15 Cust. Ct. 156, C.D. 963 (1945), the term doll is not confined to articles used as playthings for children but includes those for ornamental purposes, for advertising purposes which are not used by children and were never designed for such use. The court in Janex Corp. v. United States, 80 Cust. Ct. 146, C.D. 4748 (1978), summarized the following definitions of a doll as observed by the Customs Court:

. . . [W]ell established is the concept that a doll for tariff purposes is not confined to playthings for children but includes a wide range of other articles including but not limited to dolls for ornamentation such as boudoir dolls, souvenir or prize dolls, dolls for display or advertising purposes, and dolls sold as gag items, bar gadgets, adult novelties, etc. Louis Wolf & Co., Inc. v. United States, Supra, 15 Cust. Ct. at 157, 158; Gold-Silver & Co. v. United States, 35 Cust. Ct. 246, 247, Abs. 59301 (1955).

As we have seen, the common meaning of the word "doll" encompasses a great variety of merchandise. Perhaps because the variety is so vast, the courts have not been able to render a comprehensive definition of the term "doll," nor have they been able to " . . . make any all-embracing finding as to what is a doll or to hold that all small figures are dolls . . . ." [Footnote omitted.] Nonetheless, there does appear to be a certain amount of agreement among the lexicographical authorities. To illustrate, we start with the following lexicographic authorities to which reference was made in Louis Wolf & Co., Inc. v. United States, supra, 15 Cust. Ct. at 160:

. . . [W]e are of opinion that the common meaning of that term [doll] is sufficiently comprehensive to include all dolls, whether or not they are toys. In support of this view, it will be noted that the secondary definition of "doll" as given in Webster's New International Dictionary, 2d Edition, 1936, reads:

. . . any similar figure for play or ornament.

This broader view is further borne out by a comprehensive article on the subject of dolls appearing in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th Edition, wherein the history, development and use of various types of dolls are set forth in detail, indicating besides their use as playthings for children, wide use in religious rites and other ceremonies in many parts of the world from earliest times to the present day.

More recent lexicographical authorities agree that the word "doll' encompasses a broad spectrum of articles which are commonly known as dolls. Thus in Webster's New International Dictionary (2d ed., 1953) p. 767, a doll is described as:
doll . . . 2. A child's puppet; esp., a toy baby for a child; any similar figure for play or ornament. . . .

In Vol. 9 Encyclopedia Americana ((Internat. ed., 1973) p. 255, a doll is described as:

Doll, a figurine of a human being. The word was first used for the child's toy about 1700, possibly as a contraction of Greek eidolon ("idol"), but more probably from the girl's name "Doll" which was short for "Dorothy." Some authorities now use the word to refer to the child's toy. Other classes of dolls include religious figurines, objects of art and souvenirs. [Emphasis added.]

In Vol. 8 Collier's Encyclopedia (1973 ed. p. 313, a doll is described as:

Doll, a plaything usually in the form of a baby or child, widely cherished by small girls; also, the ornamental figurines collected by adults as objects of art, curios, keepsakes, or souvenirs. [Emphasis added.]

Under these broad definitions of "doll" the bottles at issue would be considered dolls. They are ornamental bottles that have the shape of small human figurines that are meant for children to play with in the bathtub. They are used as advertising to entice the consumer to purchase the bubble bath inside. They are not merely plastic containers.


The human shaped bottles at issue are classifiable under item 737.24, TSUS, which provides for dolls.

The protest should be denied. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Form 19 Notice of Action to satisfy the notice requirement of section 174.30(a), Customs Regulations.


John Durant, Director

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