In a ruling that reads like an article straight from The Onion, the Court of International Trade has decided that Snuggies, the blanket with sleeves, is in fact a blanket when it comes to trade tariffs and taxes. Initially upon hearing about this court case, I will admit I thought it may have been a case brought against those who were electing to wear their Snuggie to the grocery store. Alas it was about how much money the government could take from those involvedBloomberg has the report.
Snuggies, the sleeved fleece coverings, should be classified as blankets for tariff purposes, not like robes or priestly vestments, a federal trade court ruled Feb. 10 ( Allstar Mktg. Grp., LLC v. United States , Ct. Int’l Trade, 13-00395, 2/10/17 ).
The court rejected the Justice Department’s argument that Snuggies are apparel and so should be subject to higher duties than blankets. The judge found it important that Snuggies open in the back and don’t have closures.
The fleece blanket gained popularity in the United States after bursting onto the infomercial scene in 2008. Who can forget those people unable to use their hands while wrapped in a blanket? Apparently not the judge who issued the ruling.
Judge Mark Barnett of the Court of International Trade held that Customs and Border Protection was wrong to classify Snuggies as garments. The judge noted in his opinion that the product is marketed as a blanket, rather than as clothing. For example, the packaging describes the Snuggie as “The Blanket With Sleeves!,” he said, and depicts consumers “in the types of situations one might use a blanket; for example, while seated or reclining on a couch or bed, or outside cheering a sports team.”
The addition of sleeves was not enough to turn the Snuggie into clothing, Barnett said. They simply allow the Snuggie “to remain in place and keep the user warm while allowing the user to engage in certain activities requiring the use of their hands,” he said.
So there you have it, the argument is settled, The Snuggie is a blanket, not a robe. Don’t wear it out of the house.