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HQ 087838

DEC 7 1990

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 087838 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 688.42, TSUS

District Director of Customs
300 South Ferry St., Rm. 2017
Terminal Island
San Pedro, California 90731

RE: Motion Sensor Light Control System; Security Light Control Devices; Convenience Lighting; Visual Sound Signalling Apparatus; Item 653.39, 685.73, 688.42, TSUS

Dear Sir:

This is our decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 2704-9-000329, dated January 26, 1989, filed on behalf of counsel representing The Heath Company, St. Joseph, Michigan. The merchandise is covered by multiple consumption entries dated October 28, 1988, liquidated November 4, 1988. Our decision follows.


The merchandise in issue is the Heath/Zenith brand security lighting control system, models SL-5310A, SL-5320A, and SL-5410A, all from Taiwan. Each device consists of a rectangular shaped plastic control module with infrared sensor, two (2) metal canisters with spotlights, and a wall mounting bracket. These units connect to an existing outdoor floodlight junction box.

Each unit has a passive infrared sensor that upon detecting the requisite amount of body heat from an approaching person or motion from an approaching car functions as a switch to activate the flood lights. These models sense between 60 and 70 ft. away in a 110 degree arc, providing either 2,000 or 4,000 sq. ft. of coverage. A photoelectric cell deactivates the sensor in daylight. The model SL-5320A will also activate inside lights, the television, or any other
receptor device, a function that can also operate in daylight hours. In devices of this type sensitivity can be adjusted to accomodate wandering animals.

Counsel stresses the security aspects of the models in issue and notes they are advertised and marketed as security systems designed to detect the presence of intruders. A recent consumer survey notes almost 99 percent of the buyers rated security as the most important reason for buying these units. Consequently, counsel urges classification in item 685.73, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), as other electrical sound or visual signalling apparatus. You maintain that because the devices function primarily as convenience lighting the item 685.73 classification is undocumented. Consequently, you liquidated the entries in item 688.42, TSUS, as other electrical articles and electrical parts of articles, not specially provided for. These devices appear to be in chief value of plastic. For this reason, the provision for other illuminating articles and parts thereof, of base metal, in item 653.30, TSUS, was found to be inapplicable.


Whether the motion sensor light control devices in issue are visual sound signalling apparatus for tariff purposes.


Counsel's primary claim is that these units are advertised and marketed as security systems designed to detect the presence of intruders, and has a secondary and subordinate use as convenience lighting to allow returning occupants the opportunity to approach a building under good illumination. As such, they meet judicial criteria for determining classification under item 685.70, TSUS: they are electrical, they alert to the existence of a potential hazard, and they function only in temporary situations.

The case most often cited as defining the scope of item 685.70 is Oxford International Corporation v. United States, 75 Cust. Ct. 58, C.D. 4608 (1975). There, the court stated that item 685.70 encompasses only those devices whose function is to call attention to temporary or abnormal conditions. Applying the rule of ejusdem generis, the court concluded that other sound or visual signalling apparatus must, like the named exemplars in that item number, warn of the existence of emergencies or special circumstances. In A & A International, Inc. v. United States, 5 CIT 183 (1983), the status of metal detectors under item 685.70 was considered. There, while restating that articles enumerated in item 685.70 function in

"temporary" or "abnormal" situations, the court affirmed the statement in Oxford as to use by noting that a device may "signal" by simply conveying information or giving notice of a specific event, and need not warn only of an emergency. The metal detector was found to "signal" because it gave notice or called attention to a special circumstance (i.e., the presence of metal).

The devices in issue here function in part as convenience and safety lighting. In this mode, no one is being alerted to a temporary condition or the special circumstance of an approaching intruder, nor is information being conveyed. The devices in such cases function merely as a steady source of illumination to permit an occupant or visitor to safely enter the premises. Used in this way, they are analogous to garage door openers. The submission of consumer surveys and literature accenting the "security feature" of these devices does not negate their use as convenience or safety lighting. The evidence of record compels the conclusion that the models SL-5301A, SL-5320A, and SL-5410A are not of a like kind with bells, sirens, indicator panels, and burglar and fire alarms enumerated in item 685.70, TSUS, and therefore, are not sound or visual signalling apparatus.


The Heath Zenith brand security lighting control system models SL-5310A, SL-5320A, and SL-5401A are classifiable under the provision for electrical articles and electrical parts of articles, not specially provided for, in item 688.42, TSUS.

The protest should be denied. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Form 19, to be mailed to counsel for the protestant.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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