CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 088464 AJS
Assistant District Director
Champlain, NY 12919
RE: Protest No. 0712-90-000738; microselect system; controller;
interface; Subheading 8537.10.00; EN 84.71(A); Chapter 84, note
5(B); EN 84.71(D); Computer Dictionary and Handbook; Under-
standing Computers: What Managers Need to Know; Subheading
Protest for further review number 0712-90-000738 dated
August 15, 1990, was filed against the classification of the
Microselect system within subheading 8537.10.00, Harmonized
Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).
The Microselect system is a simple video network system
which performs multiple tasks. It enables a teacher using a
micro-computer (MC) to constantly monitor up to 32 students who
are also using MCs, and permits complete control over each of the
The system links all the MCs in the classroom by means of a
series of interfaces. The system is regulated by a controller at
the teacher's station. The controller receives and controls the
transmission of electronic signals from the teacher's MC to the
interfaces of the other MCs. The interfaces are connected to the
video outlet and the screen of each MC. They manipulate and
retransmit video signals between the MCs and their screens. The
teacher can transfer the screen image from any one of the MCs to
any other screen in the network. The students cannot control
their screen while the teacher is displaying data.
Whether the Microselect system is properly classifiable
within heading 8537, HTSUSA, which provides for "[b]oards, panels
(including numerical control panels), consoles, desks, cabinets
and other bases, equipped with two or more apparatus of heading
8535 and 8536, for electric control or the distribution of
electricity . . ."; or classifiable within heading 8471, HTSUSA,
which provides for automatic data processing (ADP) machines and
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Heading 8471, HTSUSA, provides for ADP machines and units
thereof. These machines usually consist of a number of
separately housed interconnected units, which form a system.
Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory
Notes (ENs) 84.71(A), p. 1298 (1991). Such systems may also
include peripheral units designed to increase the capacity of the
system, for instance, by expanding one or more of the functions
of the central unit. ENs 84.71(A). Such units are inserted
between the input or output units (start and end of the system).
ENs 84.71(A). It is claimed that the subject merchandise is such
a peripheral unit. The subject system is designed to increase
the capacity of the MCs by allowing different MCs to be inter-
connected, controlled and monitored. In addition, the controller
and interfaces are located between the output unit of the
teacher's MC and the input units of the student's MCs.
A separately-housed unit is to be regarded as being a part
of the complete digital data processing system, if it satisfies
the following conditions:
(a) It is connectable to the central processing unit (CPU)
either directly or through one or more other units; and
(b) It is specifically designed as part of such a system.
It cannot be considered as such unless, in particular,
it is capable of accepting or delivering data in a form
(code or signals) which can be used by the system.
Chapter 84, note 5(B).
The subject merchandise satisfies these requirements. The
controller is connectable to the CPU of the teacher's MC, and the
interfaces are connectable to the CPUs of the student's MCs. The
subject merchandise is also specifically designed as part of an
ADP system. It is designed to interconnect, control and monitor
the MCs of the Microselect system by accepting and delivering
data in a form usable by the system.
Heading 8471, HTSUSA, covers separately presented
constituent units of a data processing system. ENs 84.71(D).
Examples of such units include control units such as those to
effect interconnection of the CPU to other digital data
processing machines, or to groups of input or output units which
may comprise visual display units, remote terminals, etc. ENs
84.71(D)(4). Control units are described as intermediary control
devices which link peripheral units to the CPU. C.J. and R.J.
Sippl, Computer Dictionary and Handbook, p. 115 (3rd ed. 1980).
Control units are used to interface (i.e., interact or inter-
connect) computers and peripheral devices. Myles E. Walsh,
Understanding Computers: What Managers Need to Know, p. 36
(1981). Control units are provided for within subheading
8471.99.15, HTSUSA. The subject system partially satisfies the
description of a control unit. It effects the interconnection of
the teacher's MC to the other MCs of the Microselect system.
However, it also enables the teacher's MC to monitor and control
what image is viewed on the student's screen. These operations
are not merely interconnection functions. Accordingly, the
subject system does not satisfy the terms of this subheading and
is not properly classifiable therein.
Subheading 8471.99.90, HTSUSA, provides for other units of
ADP machines. The subject system satisfies this description. As
stated previously, it interconnects, controls and monitors the
MCs of the subject system. Accordingly, the subject system
satisfies the terms of this subheading and is properly
Heading 8537, HTSUSA, provides for "[b]oards, panels . . .
consoles, desks, cabinets and other bases, equipped with two or
more apparatus of heading 8535 or 8536, for electric control or
the distribution of electricity . . ." The subject system does
not satisfy this description. It is not used merely for the
electric control or the distribution of electricity. As
discussed above, the system is used to perform multiple tasks
described in heading 8471, HTSUSA. Accordingly, the subject
system does not satisfy the terms of this heading and is not
properly classifiable therein.
The Microselect system is properly classifiable within
subheading 8471.99.90, HTSUSA, which provides for other units of
ADP machines. You should allow the protest in full. A copy of
this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and
mailed to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division