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HQ 962958

March 12, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 962958 JGB


TARIFF NO.: 9502.10.00

Mr. Joel K. Simon
Serko & Simon
One World Trade Center, Suite 3371
New York, New York 10048

RE: "Rugrats" stuffed dolls

Dear Mr. Simon:

This is in response to your letter of July 2,1999, following up on our June 17, 1999, meeting at Headquarters, in which you request advice regarding the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)of certain "Rugrat" stuffed dolls to be imported by Worldwide Dreams LLC. Some of the styles were treated in HQ 962670, issued April 20, 1999. At the meeting you informed Customs that some styles of "Rugrat" dolls had been entered under the authority of HQ 962670, but that at the port, Customs questioned the classification because the goods entered did not conform to the goods described in the ruling. You have stated that the stuffing was removed before importation to make the articles weigh less for quota purposes. It now appears that the stuffing would not have been removed if it had appeared that such a change would exclude the goods from the scope of HQ 962670. The matter now before Headquarters is to reconsider HQ 962670 in the light of the new samples submitted. We regret the delay.


The new samples are described as "Rugrats" stuffed dolls. In style H 52092 are "Angelica" as cheerleader, "Suzie" as cheerleader, "Chuckie" in Green basketball shirt marked "5", and "Tommy" in white basketball shirt marked "1." Of Style H 50485 are "Angelica" in purple dress and "Chuckie" in blue shirt with a planet decoration. The dolls range in height from approximately 16 to 18 inches and are clothed in the same manner as the cartoon characters. The dolls are made of man-made textile materials. The figure's heads, arms, and legs are fully stuffed with man-made fibers (polyester). The torsos are partially or almost fully stuffed with soft man-made fibers, apparently polyester. The back portion of each of the torsos has a small zipped compartment which provides very limited tote and storage capacity for small objects. For instance, for the "Angelica" figures, her widest part is her head, which measures eight inches at its widest part while her torso is 4 inches wide at its widest part. The pocket portion of these models measures approximately 4 inches long. Sewn to the head and lower torso of each doll are adjustable vertical webbing straps to enable a child or teenager to carry the figure on his or her back. There are also loops made of webbing between the straps at the head area of the figures that can function as a handle.


Whether the "Rugrat" characters in this configuration are dolls of heading 9502, HTSUS, or backpacks of heading 4202, HTSUS.


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.

The headings under consideration are as follows:

4202: Trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels, spectacle cases, binocular cases, camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, holsters and similar containers; traveling bags, toiletry bags, knapsacks and backpacks, handbags, shopping bags, wallets, purses, map cases, cigarette cases, tobacco pouches, tool bags, sports bags, bottle cases, jewelry boxes, powder cases, cutlery cases and similar containers, of leather or of composition leather, of sheeting of plastics, of textile materials, of vulcanized fiber, or of paperboard, or wholly or mainly covered with such materials or with paper

9502: Dolls representing only human beings and parts and accessories thereof.

The "Rugrats" dolls consist of two main components, the doll portion, classifiable in heading 9502, and the "backpack" portion, classifiable in heading 4202. Therefore, the articles are not described by a single heading. Under the provisions of GRI 2, “the classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule 3.” GRI 3 provides, in pertinent part, “When, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:...when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods ... those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.” GRI 3(b) provides that “... composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.”

The EN to GRI 3(b) at paragraph (VIII) lists, as factors to help determine the essential character of such goods, the nature of the materials or components, their bulk, quantity, weight or value, and the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods. In this instance, consistent with HQ 962670, the doll portion is the primary component of the composite good in terms of value and bulk, while the ”backpack" portion serves a secondary function of allowing the doll portion to ride on the user's back. Also, the role of the doll in relation to the use of the whole article leads to the doll presenting the essential character of the good. The purchaser of the article would not expect to receive a functioning backpack, even though the article presents some backpack-like features and it is entirely plausible that the user of the character would strap it on his or her back without regard to whether there was something to be carried, then or later. Because the doll component supplies the essential character of the good, the classification of the doll will govern the classification of the whole good.

We note that there was a claim at the time HQ 962670 was prepared that the "Rugrats" character was a stuffed doll. Additional investigation shows that the website for World Wide Dreams LLC advertises and sells only traditional backpacks, but not dolls. The "Rugrats" licensee list, obtained independently by Customs, indicates that East End Accessories, the responsible division of World Wide Dreams, is licensed to use the "Rugrats" images on "Plush Backpacks", but not dolls. Furthermore, independent investigations show that the articles appear in the area reserved for bags and backpacks in stores where toys are sold. This information substantially diminishes, if not nullifies, the credibility of the claim by the importer.

EN 95.02 states, in pertinent part, that:

....[d]olls are usually made of rubber, plastics, textile materials, wax, ceramics, wood, paperboard, papier maché or combinations of these materials. They may be jointed and contain mechanisms which permit limb, head or eye movements as well as reproductions of the human voice, etc. They may also be dressed.

With the ambiguity of the information before us, Customs must rely on the sample to make a determination as to whether the article exhibits doll or backpack characteristics. Based upon the ENs and the articles’ physical characteristics, we are of the opinion that the “Rugrats” dolls are described by heading 9502, HTSUS. Concerning heading 4202, we are of the opinion that the “Rugrats” dolls are not described by the heading. While the dolls do have straps for carrying, the inside portion of the zippered torso is very small, due to the small size of the zipper and the large quantity of stuffing, preventing it from serving in any practical way as a pack for the child who carries the doll. The only practical use of the zippered pocket appears to be to store or carry very small objects or accessories. The zippered opening in the doll is similar to having a secret pocket in one’s doll rather than having a functional backpack with a toy-like motif. As such, this design does not provide sufficient space for us to find that the article’s primary use is that of a “novelty backpack.” For a full discussion of the classification of “novelty backpacks” see HQ 958308, dated November 7, 1995. We find the "Rugrats" stuffed dolls presented here to be almost identical to the merchandise ruled on in HQ 962670, except that the stuffing material is not pellets, but is instead a polyester fiberfill. The result of both types of stuffing are nonetheless identical “Huggie Heart Shareables” doll of HQ 961502, dated April 19, 1999.


The "Rugrat" figures are classified in subheading 9502.10.00, HTSUS.

HQ 962670 is affirmed.


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