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Hewlett-Packard Co. v. United States

August 25, 1999

HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
UNITED STATES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Before Michel, Plager, and Rader, Circuit Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rader, Circuit Judge.

Appealed from: United States Court of International Trade Senior Judge Dominick L. DiCarlo

The United States Court of International Trade ordered the United States Customs Service to reclassify certain small-format, desktop pen plotters imported by the Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) as other automatic data processing machine printer units under subheading 8471.92.65 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). *fn1 For the reasons set forth below, this court affirms.

I.

At issue are four models of HP's desktop pen plotters (model nos. 7440A, 7475A, 7550A, and 7550B). These plotters produce detailed business-related graphics, such as charts, graphs, or diagrams. Specifically, the plotters create graphics as directed by software installed on a computer. The computer transfers data to the plotter through a cable. The plotter has pens and paper that move along x- and y-axes. To produce the graphic, the plotter moves the pens and paper according to the data from the computer.

Customs classified the plotters under subheading 9017.20.80, which carries a duty rate of 5.8% ad valorem:

"9017 Drawing, marking-out or mathematical calculating instruments (for example, drafting machines, pantographs, protractors, drawing sets, slide rules, disc calculators); instruments for measuring length, for use in the hand (for example, measuring rods and tapes, micrometers, calipers), not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts and accessories thereof:

9017.20 Other drawing, marking-out or mathematical calculating instruments:

9017.20.80 Other:

HP appealed to the Court of International Trade, arguing that Customs should have classified the goods under subheading 8471.92.90, dutiable at a rate of 3.7% ad valorem. After a two-day trial, the trial court agreed with HP that Customs should have classified the goods under heading 8471, but applied a different subheading -- 8471.92.65. That subheading, like the one advanced by HP, carries a 3.7% duty rate:

8471 Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, not elsewhere specified or included:

Other:

8471.92 Input or output units, whether or not entered with the rest of a system and whether or not containing ...


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