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HQ 472401

May 7, 2002

ENF 4-02 RR: IT: IP 472401 PBP


James C. Tuttle, Esq.
Law Offices of James C. Tuttle
82 Wall Street

Suite 1105

New York, New York 10005

RE: Lens-Fitted Film Packages; ITC Investigation No. 337-TA-406

Dear Mr. Tuttle:

This is in reply to your letter dated June 26, 2001, on behalf of Vastfame Camera Ltd., requesting a binding ruling as to whether certain camera products preloaded with 35-mm film are excluded from entry into the United States.


Pursuant to the above-referenced exclusion order, the ITC determined that there was a violation of 19 U.S.C. §1337 regarding certain lens-fitted film packages (LFFPs), also known as one-time use cameras, single use cameras, and disposable cameras, that infringed claims under one or more of fifteen patents owned by Fuji Photo Film Co., Inc. Certain Lens-Fitted Film Packages, Inv. No. 337-TA-406, General Exclusion Order at 1-2. With the exception of design patents DES. 345,750; DES. 356,101; and DES. 372,722 which claim ornamental designs of single use cameras and are represented by their application drawings, all of the claims of the patents at issue protect “a lens-fitted photographic film package” or “a lens-fitted photographic film unit.” In its Opinion, the ITC described an LFFP as follows:

The products at issue in this investigation are inexpensive, disposable, single use cameras, technically referred to as “lens-fitted film packages” or “LFFPs.” LFFPs are generally constructed of a shell made of a plastic material such as
polystyrene. They are equipped with a button-activated shutter, a lens, a viewfinder, a film advance mechanism, and optional flash units and buttons. An outer cardboard cover, containing printed information such as branding and instructions, encases the shell. LFFPs are preloaded with film and a film cartridge. When pictures are taken, the exposed film winds into the film cartridge. After taking pictures, a typical consumer brings the entire LFFP to a film processor to have the film developed and receives back only negatives and prints, not the LFFP shell and its contents.

Certain Lens-Fitted Film Packages, Inv. No. 337-TA-406 (June 2, 1999), Commission Opinion at 2. See also, Id., Final Initial and Recommended Determinations, Additional Findings, no. 1 at 214.

Two sample cameras identified as Model #N992, and Model #N992F, manufactured by Vastfame Camera Ltd., 22 C-D, MaxShare Centre, 367 King’s Road, North Point, Hong Kong, were submitted for our analysis. With the exception that Model #N992F incorporates a flash mechanism, the construction of the two cameras is identical. The sample cameras are preloaded with unexposed film and consist of light plastic bodies; as noted above, Model #N992F incorporates a flash unit. The cameras each have a body consisting of a front cover attached to a shell with screws and a rear cover fitted to the shell by a hinge on one side and a slide-lock mechanism on the other. The rear cover may be opened by releasing the slide lock mechanism and pulling outward, away from the shell. In addition, the cameras are equipped with a lens, a viewfinder, and a film advance mechanism. When a photograph is taken, the film winds from the unexposed film roll into the film cartridge. Photographs of the sample cameras are displayed below.


The issue presented is whether the sample cameras are lens-fitted film packages within the scope of the ITC’s general exclusion order issued pursuant to Inv. No. 337-TA-406, such that they are excluded from entry for consumption into the United States.


Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 471166, dated May 7, 2002, copy enclosed, addresses Customs position on whether the cameras under consideration are excluded from entry for consumption into the United States pursuant to the ITC’s general exclusion order issued in Inv. No. 337-TA-406. In HQ 471166, we determined that reusable camera products manufactured by Vastfame Camera Ltd., and identified as Model Nos. N992 and N992F may be entered for consumption into the United States. We therefore incorporate the LAW AND ANALYSIS section of that ruling in this decision, as it is dispositive of the issue you have raised.

Accordingly, the subject cameras are not LFFPs of the type covered by the ITC’s exclusion order.


The sample cameras identified as Model Nos. N992 and N992F are not covered by the scope of the ITC’s general exclusion order in Inv. No. 337-TA-406. The cameras may be entered for consumption into the United States.


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