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HQ 732816


November 24, 1989

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 732816 NL

CATEGORY: MARKING

Richard G. Seley
Rudolph Miles & Sons, Inc.
4950 Gateway East, P.O. Box 144
El Paso, Texas 79942

RE: Country of Origin Marking of Imported Gloves

Dear Mr. Seley:

This is in response to your letter of October 5, 1989, requesting a ruling on behalf of your client, Wells Lamont of Chicago, Illinois.

FACTS:

Wells Lamont assembles leather gloves in Mexico, importing them through El Paso, Texas. A sample was submitted. The gloves are imported fully prepared to be hung for retail sale on display racks. A heavy duty staple secures the gloves together at their heel. The same staple secures a hanger and a display card, which you describe as an identification ticket. The left glove remains open so that the buyer can try it on for fit. On the inside of the left glove is a cloth tag bearing product and size information and the words "sewn in Mexico". The staple seals the right glove closed. The outside of the identification ticket shows the company name, glove style and size, and the words "Assembled in Mexico". The back side of the identification ticket (which faces the glove unless turned over) contains a description of the product's design, the guarantee, patent and trademark information, and an invitation to write to the manufacturer at its Chicago address with comments. We assume that this address is also provided so that buyers may write for service under the guarantee. No information was provided concerning the country of origin of the materials nor of the manufacturing operations performed in Mexico. Therefore, we offer no opinion concerning the acceptability of the wording "Sewn in Mexico" or "Assembled in Mexico".

ISSUE:

Do the presence on the back of the display ticket of a U.S. address, associated with a request for consumer comments, and U.S. patent registration data, trigger the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46?

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), requires, subject to certain specified exceptions, that every article of foreign origin imported into the U.S. shall be marked to indicate the article's country of origin to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. The English name of the country of origin must appear legibly, conspicuously, and permanently. Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134) implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

The purpose of the marking statute was stated by the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals in United States v. Friedlaender & Co., 27 CCPA 297, 302, C.A.D. 104 (1940) as to permit the ultimate purchaser, "by knowing where the goods were produced, [to] be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will." In furtherance of that purpose, the Customs Regulations require that, in order to prevent confusion to the ultimate purchaser, in any case in which the words "U.S.", "American", or the name of any city or locality in the U.S., or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the country of manufacture appears on an imported article or its container, the name of the country of origin, accompanied by the words "made in" or words to similar effect, must appear, legibly and permanently, in at least a comparable size, and in close proximity to such words or name. 19 CFR 134.46.

Upon examination of the sample and consideration of the applicable precedents, it is our opinion that the country of origin marking of the sample and its packaging present no risk of deception or confusion to the ultimate purchaser. In addition to the conspicuous country of origin label on the inside of one of the gloves, the display ticket clearly and conspicuously shows the gloves' country of origin on the side of the card which is immediately apparent to the ultimate purchaser. On that side of the display ticket there is no U.S. or foreign name other than the country of origin.

The U.S. patent registration information and the U.S. address which appear on the back of the display ticket also do not raise the possibility of confusion or deception, since they are not in a location directly apparent to the ultimate purchaser at the point of sale. It appears that the purchaser would need to disassemble the stapled pair of gloves from the identification ticket in order to see the patent registration information. The purchaser would need to turn over the card in order to see the U.S. address. We conclude therefore, that while the word "U.S." and the U.S. address are present on the identification ticket, they are not in a location which could influence an ultimate purchaser at the point of sale, and the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 are not applicable.

Moreover, in HQ 732329 (Jul. 29, 1989) we ruled that 19 CFR 134.46 does not require that country of origin information appear beneath a U.S. address printed on a warranty card so long as the U.S. address appears for the purpose of giving the warranty holder a place to direct questions and problems related to the warranty. We find that the same reasoning applies to the U.S. address printed on the back of the display ticket attached to the submitted sample, and that the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 are not triggered.

HOLDING:

The requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 do not apply to a U.S. address printed for purposes of offering purchasers a location to pursue guarantee or customer satisfaction assistance, and the U.S. patent information, both of which appear on the back of the display ticket and are not sufficiently prominent to an ultimate purchaser at the point of sale to present any possiblility of confusion or deception.

Sincerely,

Marvin M. Amernick
Chief, Value, Special

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