The Court held that the Lanham Act (the federal trademark statute) does not apply extraterritorially and that a domestic application of the statute requires use of the trademark in domestic commerce. Regarding the presumption against extraterritoriality more broadly, the majority emphasized that conduct related to a non-extraterritorial statute's focus must occur in the United States, even if the focus itself is not about conduct.

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Abitron on Remand

Last year, in Abitron Austria GmbH v. Hetronic International, Inc., the Supreme Court held that the federal trademark statute—known as the Lanham Act—applies only to domestic conduct infringing U.S. trademarks. A group of Austrian and German companies collectively known as “Abitron” placed U.S.-protected trademarks owned by a U.S. company, Hetronic, on products made in Europe. Some of…

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District Court Permits Clean Air Act Action Against Canadian Company

The presumption against extraterritoriality is the principal tool that U.S. courts use to determine the reach of federal statutes. Last year, in Abitron Austria GmbH v. Hetronic International, Inc. (2023), the U.S. Supreme modified the presumption by requiring conduct relevant to a provision’s focus to occur in the United States in order for the application…

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The Extraterritorial Reach of Criminal Statutes

When federal statutes do not indicate how far they reach, courts apply a presumption against extraterritoriality to limit their geographic scope. Last year, in Abitron Austria GmbH v. Hetronic International, Inc. (2023), the Supreme Court revised the presumption by requiring conduct in the United States for a statute’s application to be considered domestic. Meanwhile, lower courts…

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