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My understanding is that to file a trademark infringement lawsuit, I have to file it in the state where the "infringing activity" is occurring, in other words the location of the defendant.

However, this creates two problems/questions:

(1) What if the infringer is foreign? For example, imagine there is a company in Hong Kong ripping off my trademark and selling knock offs by mail to customers in the United States. I can't very well file the lawsuit in Hong Kong.

(2) Supposedly trademark infringement suits can be filed in state court (although federal courts have original jurisdiction). If I am suing in a state court, can I sue in my home state (the state of the plaintiff)? In other words, by suing in a state court can I circumvent the normal requirement to sue in the location of the defendant?

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There are some complexities here. First of all, in the US, trademarks may be protected under either state or federal laws. Suits for trademark infringement under either kind of laws may be filed in state courts, although suit under federal laws are more often filed in federal courts.

My understanding is that to file a trademark infringement lawsuit, I have to file it in the state where the "infringing activity" is occurring, in other words the location of the defendant.

That is not quite correct. The infringing activity occurs wherever sales are made, and often wherever goods or services with an infringing marks are advertised. If goods are sold by mail, the infringing activity may be held to occur where the customers are located.

If an infringing mark is being used to sell or advertise goods or services in a particular US state, suit may normally be filed in that state, whether in state or federal court, no matter where the infringer is located. (However it may be much easier to secure damages if a suit is won when suing in the jurisdiction where the infringer is located.) Procedures are different if the trademark is registered than if it is not.

Trademark suits are often complex and costly. It would be very wise to consult an experienced trademark lawyer when considering bringing such suits.

If goods carrying infringing marks are being imported into the US, the US Customs can seize or deny entry to such goods. A trademark lawyer might be able to advise how to get the customs service to act on such situations, and what the limits of such enforcement is.

Trademarks are generally matters of national law. A mark that is valid and fully protected in the US, may not be protected at all in Hong Kong, for example.

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