Extraterritoriality

Extraterritoriality refers to the application of a nation’s law to persons, conduct, or property outside its own territory. Customary international law allows nations to regulate extraterritorially on a number of different bases, including effects, nationality, and universal jurisdiction. Nations generally limit the extraterritorial application of their laws to a greater extent than customary international law requires. For example, the United States applies a presumption against extraterritoriality to federal law and sometimes imposes additional limitations as a matter of prescriptive comity. Some U.S. states have their own presumptions against extraterritoriality, which may differ from the federal presumption.

A Primer on Extraterritoriality

Extraterritoriality refers to the application of a state’s law beyond the state’s borders. Although the word “extraterritorial” often has negative connotations, international law permits a great deal of extraterritorial regulation. In a world where trade, information, crime, and lots of other things regularly cross borders, states often have an interest in regulating beyond the strict…

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Recent Posts

Supreme Court Grants Cert to Resolve Split Over Extraterritoriality of Civil RICO

Earlier today, the Supreme Court granted cert in Yegiazaryan v. Smagin and CMB Monaco v. Smagin and consolidated the cases for oral argument. The question in both cases is how RICO’s private right of action applies to intangible property, in this case a California judgment confirming a foreign arbitral award. As I previously noted on…

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Stare Decisis and Extraterritoriality

In a recent post, Curt Bradley suggested that the hardest problem the Supreme Court faces as it revisits the geographic scope of the Lanham (Trademark) Act in Abitron Austria GmbH v. Hetronic International, Inc. is what to do about existing precedent. In Steele v. Bulova Watch Co. (1952), the Court held that the Act applies to…

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Supreme Court to Revisit Extraterritorial Scope of Trademark Law

On March 1, the Supreme Court will hear argument in Abitron Austria GmbH v. Hetronic International, Inc., which concerns the extraterritorial scope of the Lanham (Trademark) Act. In resolving this case, the Court will need to decide what to do about an old precedent that appears to be inconsistent with the Court’s modern approach to…

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