Court Rules Snuggies are Blankets, Not Clothing
Remember the Snuggie? The infomercial phenomenon product that allowed us to be covered with a blanket while also having access to our arms? Was it a blanket or a robe? A federal trade court has now gotten involved in that debate, ruling that Snuggies should be categorized as blankets, not clothing.
How did questions about Snuggies make it all the way to the U.S. Court of International Trade? This case began in 2010, when the maker of the Snuggie–Allstar Marketing Group–began clashing with the DOJ and Customs and Border Protection over the classification of the product. The U.S. government has traditionally classified Snuggies as garments, meaning that they’re subject to 14.9 percent duties when brought into the U.S. Allstar fought that classification, because if Snuggies were classified as blankets, they would only be subject to 8.5 percent duties.
The DOJ attempted to compare Snuggies to bathrobes, or other robe-like garments, like priestly vestments, or graduation robes. The DOJ also pointed out that they have been worn as novelty garments–for example, people have done pub crawls in their Snuggies.
But according to Judge Mark Barnett of the Court of International Trade, who wrote the opinion, Snuggies differ from those kinds of garments in that they are open in the back. Additionally, they don’t have any sort of mechanism to stay closed, like buttons or zippers. Just because something has sleeves, doesn’t mean it’s a garment. Barnett said that the sleeves just allow the blanket “to remain in place and keep the user warm while allowing the user to engage in certain activities requiring the use of their hands.” The ruling also recognized that when Allstar trademarked its product with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, it listed the Snuggie as in the category of “fleece blankets and throws.”
So, Allstar will now get to pay less to import its Snuggies. And next time you consider wearing your Snuggie out of the house–remember it’s not clothing!