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HQ 965159

January 31, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 965159 JGB


TARIFF NO.: 9504.10.0030

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service, Attn.: Team 774
555 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

RE: Protest 2809-01-100228; "Microphone Assembly for Sega Dreamcast MK 50000"

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 2809-01-100228, against your classification of the "Microphone Assembly for Sega Dreamcast MK 50000" under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The entries, made in 2000, were liquidated December 22, 2000, and the protest timely filed on March 21, 2001.


The merchandise consists of a microphone, item 610-6872, a peripheral component for Sega's Dreamcast video game console developed to provide voice interactivity. The microphone consists of a microphone element, a foam cover and a cartridge containing unique circuitry and pin interconnects. The assembly is designed to connect to the central processing unit of the Dreamcast game console through an expansion slot of the Dreamcast controller. The microphone is developed particularly for use and sold at retail with "Seaman," a voice-activated, interactive video game program recorded on compact disk and played on the Sega Dreamcast video game console. The microphone functions by receiving analog sounds (i.e., human voices) whereupon the voices are converted to digital data and sent to the Dreamcast console processor

You classified the merchandise in subheading 8518.10.8030, HTSUS, the provision for "Microphone and stands therefor; . . . ; parts thereof: Microphones and stands therefor: Other, Microphones."

The protestant claims that the merchandise is classified in heading 9504, specifically in subheading 9504.10.0030, HTSUS, the provision for “Articles for arcade, table or parlor games, including pinball machines,. . .; parts and accessories thereof: Video games of a kind used with a television receiver and parts and accessories thereof, Parts and accessories."


Whether the "Microphone Assembly for Sega Dreamcast MK 50000" is classified in heading 9504, HTSUS, as parts and accessories for a video game or as a microphone in heading 8518, 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 protestant contends that the microphone assembly is a part or an accessory for the Dreamcast video game and is thereby classifiable with the video game in subheading 9504.10, HTSUS. Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(c), HTSUS, states that "in the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires . . . a provision for 'parts' or 'parts and accessories' shall not prevail over a specific provision for such part of accessory." In this case such "special language or context" contemplated by the rule exists.

Note 3 to Chapter 95, HTSUS, provides that "parts and accessories which are suitable for use solely or principally with articles of this chapter are to be classified with those articles." Thus, if the article in question is a part or accessory that is solely or principally used with an article of Chapter 95, it must be classified under that heading, regardless of whether it is covered by another provision elsewhere in the tariff schedule.

The EN to heading 9504 states that the heading includes "video games (used with a television receiver or having a self-contained screen). . . . " Therefore, the Sega Dreamcast video game console is classifiable under heading 9504, HTSUS. Customs reaffirms the reasoning and result of New York Ruling Letter G86879, dated February 20, 2001, which determined that the principal function of the Dreamcast, Model MK-50000, while possessing other media functions, is as a video game machine classifiable in subheading 9504.10, HTSUS. The microphone assembly covered by this protest, which by all evidence presented, appears to be solely used with the Sega Dreamcast video game, is an input device for Dreamcast, Model MK-50000. It plays a fundamental interactive role in the play of the game "Seaman" by supplying data to Dreamcast's processing circuitry. The device, although not necessary to enable the Dreamcast, Model MK-50000, to fulfill its intended function, improves the Dreamcast's versatility and enhances the operation of the game and the game system. The microphone assembly is not only solely or principally used with the Sega Dreamcast, Model MK-50000, but also appears to meet the definition of an accessory to the Dreamcast game console. As an accessory to a video game, it is classifiable in subheading 9504.10.0030, HTSUS.

The protestant further argues that the microphone assembly is properly considered as an unassembled article when imported and that as classified, it is treated as though assembled under the provisions of GRI 2(a), HTSUS. Based on the evidence presented, the microphone, the microphone cover, and microphone cartridge are considered classifiable under subheading 9504.10, HTSUS, as a single entity.


The "Microphone Assembly for Sega Dreamcast MK 50000" is classified in subheading 9504.10.0030, HTSUS, the provision for “Articles for arcade, table or parlor games, including pinball machines,. . . ; parts and accessories thereof: Video games of a kind used with a television receiver and parts and accessories thereof, Parts and accessories."

The protest should be allowed.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the
decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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