from the United States Court of International Trade in Nos.
1:08-cv-00190-JAR, 1:08-cv-00194-JAR, Jane A. Restani, Senior
Michael Edward Roll, Pisani & Roll PLLC, Los Angeles, CA,
argued for appellant.
Rubin, International Trade Field Office, Commercial
Litigation Branch, Civil Division, United States Department
of Justice, New York, NY, argued for appellee. Also
represented by BENJAMIN C. MlZER, JEANNE E. Davidson; Chi S.
Choy, Office of Assistant Chief Counsel, United States
Customs and Border Protection, United States Department of
Homeland Security, New York, NY.
Prost, Chief Judge, Dyk, and Stoll, Circuit Judges.
Fire Products L.P. ("Tyco") appeals a decision of
the U.S. Court of International Trade ("CIT"),
which granted the government's motion for summary
judgment. The CIT held that Tyco's imported goods were
properly classified under subheading 7020.00.60 of the
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
("HTSUS"). Tyco Fire Prods. L.P. v. United
States, 82 F.Supp.3d 1340, 1350 (Ct. Int'l Trade
2015) ("Summary Judgment Op."). We affirm.
issue in this case is the proper classification of certain
liquid-filled glass bulbs according to the HTSUS. Each bulb
consists of a sealed, hollow glass tube that is filled with
colored liquid and an air bubble. A bulb of this type is
commonly used as a temperature-dependent trigger component of
fire sprinkler heads. Used in this context, the bulb is
installed into a sprinkler head, which acts as a valve, such
that the bulb is positioned to hold the valve closed and
prevent water from being released. When the sprinkler head is
exposed to fire, the bulb is heated and the liquid inside the
bulb expands until the bulb ultimately shatters. When the
bulb breaks, the valve of the sprinkler system opens and
releases a shower of water intended to extinguish the fire.
bulbs can also be used in water heaters. As used in that
context, the bulb is positioned to hold open a door to a
water heater combustion chamber, which allows air to flow
into the chamber. When the temperature rises to a particular
threshold, the bulb shatters, forcing the door shut and
thereby cutting off the air supply to the combustion chamber,
extinguishing the flame.
purchased the bulbs from two German manufacturers, Job GmbH
("Job") and Geissler Glasinstrumente GmbH
("Geissler"). Between 2004 and 2006, Tyco imported
42 different models of bulbs into the United States. Of these
models, Tyco used 39 in fire sprinkler systems. Tyco used the
other 3 models as thermal release devices in water heaters.
temperature threshold, or activation temperature, at which
the bulb breaks corresponds to the temperature rating for
that model of bulb. Different models of bulbs are designed to
break at different temperatures, and the temperature rating
of each bulb is indicated by a colored dye in the liquid. The
liquid inside the Geissler bulbs is triethylene glycol. The
composition of the liquid inside the Job bulbs is proprietary
to Job. Other relevant qualities of the bulb models include
their response time index, which relates to the amount of
time required for the bulb to reach its activation
temperature; structural strength; and compatibility with
Customs and Border Protection ("Customs")
classified the bulbs as "other articles of glass"
under HTSUS subheading 7020.00.60 ("Heading 7020"),
which has a 5% rate of duty. Tyco protested Customs'
ruling and requested further review, asserting that the bulbs
are more properly classified under subheading 8424.90.90,
which includes "Other" "Parts" of goods
classified under heading 8424 and is duty-free. Customs denied
Tyco's protest, and Tyco appealed to the
summary judgment, the CIT agreed with Customs and held that
the bulbs are properly classified as articles of glass under
Heading 7020. The court recognized that Chapter Note 1(c) to
Chapter 84 excludes from that chapter "other articles
for technical uses or parts thereof, of glass (heading 7019
or 7020)." Consulting the Explanatory Notes
("EN") to Chapter 84 of the Harmonized Commodity
Description and Coding System ("HS"), of which the
HTSUS is an embodiment, see Pima W., Inc. v. United
States, 915 F.Supp. 399, 402 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1996),
the court determined that the bulbs are "of glass"
within the meaning of the exclusion and, therefore, they are
not classifiable under that chapter.
court rejected Tyco's assertion that the bulbs fall
within exceptions to the exclusion as set forth in the EN to
Chapter 84. Specifically, the EN provides:
[T]he following are, as a rule, to be taken to have lost the
character ... of glass:
(i) Combinations of . . . glass components with a high
proportion of components of other materials (e.g., of metal);
also articles consisting of a high proportion of. . . glass
components incorporated or permanently mounted in frames,
cases or the like, of other materials.
(ii) Combinations of static components of. . . glass with
mechanical components such as motors, pumps, etc., of other