There was an NDA signed between an Individual Residing in India (Entity A) and Company based in San Jose, California (Entity B). Due to perceived breach of confidentiality agreement a cease and desist letter was sent to entity A from entity B with following closing statements:

"You will not receive another cease and desist letter from this office. Should you fail to produce a confirmation in writing within twenty-four (24) hours, a lawsuit against you will be commenced immediately in the County of Santa Clara, California regardless of where or which country you are currently residing and company will pursue maximum penalty for disclosing our competitive and intellectual property information publicly or non-publicly."

What is the legality of an lawsuit filed against a foreign national in the County of Santa Clara, California when the foreign national has never resided in California nor has the means to defend himself personally there?

1 Answer 1


100% legal

The foreign individual can choose to acquiesce to the demand or be sued (or arbitrated if the agreement so provides). If they are sued they can chose to defend the suit (e.g. by hiring a local lawyer or attending in person) or not defend it (if so, they will probably lose).

If they lose the the plaintiff can seek enforcement of the US judgement in the Indian courts. Due to various multi- and bi-lateral treaties between the US and India, judgements of US courts are enforceable in India and vice-versa.

Take this very seriously!

  • 1
    It's a huge stretch when you say that the US judgement will be applied by Indian courts. Indian courts aren't subservient nor is US law practiced or applicable in India (or most countries outside of the United States). Even if the American courts rule against a defendant who isn't subject to their jurisdiction then plaintiffs must then litigate separately in India (where they can refer to the other lawsuit) however the suit must then be decided by an Indian court for the plaintiffs to be able to collect. This is likely a scare tactic and nothing more.
    – nikhil
    Apr 14, 2020 at 22:23
  • 1
    @nikhil I will clarify.
    – Dale M
    Apr 14, 2020 at 22:54

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