In ruling NY N309682, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discussed the classification of a Smart Cat Litter Box from Japan. It is a composite good that consists of a urine tray, body, drain board, top cover, sensor plate (containing load cells and a camera), spiral tube and AC adapter. The body measures 428mm (width) x 561mm (depth) x 300 mm (height). The product weighs approximately 3.4kg. The litter box utilizes the camera for facial recognition to determine which cat is entering the litter box in a multi-cat home. The device also utilizes four load cells (weight sensors), which determine the weight of the cat, the cat’s urine and the cat’s feces. The load cells provide the information to the Smartphone App, which charts the data in grams or pounds. The user accesses the App to view the charts and consequently monitor the health status of the cats.

The Smart Cat Litter Box is a composite good made up of different components. In accordance with GRI 3(b), CBP found that the load cell (weight sensor) imparts the essential character of the Smart Cat Litter Box, as the article’s principal function is to detect the cat’s weight, feces, and urine, and that data is used to analyze the animal’s health.  Additionally, with the sole exception of the camera, the value of the weight sensor far outweighs the value of the article’s other components.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Tariff System, provide a definition of load cells of heading 9031 that describes the subject article’s weight sensor. The EN to heading 90.31(A)(30) specifically include “load cells which convert changes in applied force (including weight) into proportional changes in voltage. These changes in voltage are generally detected by instruments for measuring, controlling, weighing, etc., and are expressed in the desired units.” The load cells (weight sensors) in the Smart Cat Litter Box allow the cat, urine and feces weights to be charted by the App.

CBP determined that the applicable subheading for the Smart Cat Litter Box will be 9031.80.8085, HTSUS, which provides for “Measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; profile projectors; parts and accessories thereof: Other instruments, appliances and machines: Other: Other.” The general rate of duty will be free.