June 2013

La Crosse Technology Wins Tariff Classification Case on Weather Stations

United States - Illinois

La Crosse Technology achieved victory in litigation at the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit regarding the tariff classification of the company’s imported “weather stations” (personal electronic devices used by consumers to review weather information and plan for outdoor activities). Our firm represented La Crosse in the matter.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had liquidated the weather stations under the tariff provision for clocks. La Crosse argued that these items were properly classified as meteorological instruments or appliances. The duty rate for clocks was higher than the duty rate applied to meteorological goods.

The weather stations measured weather data (e.g., temperature and air pressure) and displayed the weather information on a screen. Some of the models analyzed the measurements to produce a forecast of future weather conditions. All of the weather stations also had a clock function and displayed the time of day.

Our firm successfully convinced the CIT that the majority of the imported weather stations were devices for measuring and displaying weather conditions. In granting partial summary judgment in favor of La Crosse, the CIT found that only seven of the imported models were properly classified by CBP as clocks. On appeal, the Federal Circuit reversed the lower court’s decision for certain models, finding that all weather stations with a forecast function were meteorological appliances eligible for a duty free rate.  

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