Ruling of the Week: Shark Tank and Customs

I never make an effort to watch Shark Tank. However, for some reason I am always running across it. I always get sucked in. I think the discussions of business valuation and strategy are interesting. I am certain they are very distilled through the editing process, but hearing successful investors critique an entrepreneur's pitch is fascinating to me.

Not long ago, I saw a guy pitch an iPhone case that has a monochrome screen affixed to the back. Using its own battery and Bluetooth connection to the phone, the second screen continuously displays updates, pictures, and other data.

The device is called a popSlate (review)


How would you classify that?

It turns out, not as a radio transmitter/receiver of 8517, which is where CBP previously classified smart watches that use Bluetooth to get updates from the phone. In this case, CBP held that the screen provides the essential character. As such, Customs classified it as an other machine or apparatus having individual function in 8543.

I have not spent any time reviewing this classification. It does strike me, though, that this might be described as an indicator panel of 8531. Anyone want to take up the challenge and tell me why that is wrong (or even right)?


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