Mr. James Booth
Orbotix, Inc.
1401 Walnut St., Suite 300
Boulder, CO 80302

RE: The tariff classification of the Sphero robotic ball from China

Dear Mr. Booth:

In your letter dated July 19, 2011, you requested a tariff classification.

In lieu of a sample, photographs and descriptive literature of the Sphero robotic ball were submitted with your inquiry. The Sphero is a ball-shaped remote controlled (RC) item, constructed with a high impact polycarbonate shell whose outer diameter measures 2.87”. Inside the Sphero are two motors that propel the item and two rechargeable lithium batteries which power it. It also has a processor, accelerometer and gyroscope to help control its movement, heading and direction. In addition, a LED is inside which mixes the colors red, green and blue together in various combinations allowing for thousands of color combinations. The Sphero comes with an induction charger and plug.

Unlike a traditional RC vehicle, the Sphero can only be controlled by smartphones and tablet devices powered by either the iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.) or Android operating systems through the use of Bluetooth signals. A downloadable "App" available from the iTunes store or Android marketplace initiates the interface on the aforementioned devices which provides virtual buttons and tilt controls that direct the movement of the Sphero. Additional gaming and augmented reality “Apps” will also be made available for use with the item in the future.

While the Sphero robotic ball is controlled by certain smartphones and tablet device and provides additional features not capable with the use of traditional remotes, it operates like any other remote controlled toy vehicle and provides similar amusement. It is of the same class or kind as other RC vehicles and it is principally designed for the amusement of children and adults, 13 years of age and older.

The applicable subheading for the Sphero robotic ball will be 9503.00.0090, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Tricycles, scooters, pedal cars and similar wheeled toys…dolls, other toys…puzzles of all kinds; parts and accessories thereof…Other.” The rate of duty will be free.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist James Forkan at (646) 733-3025.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity Specialist Division