Joyce Liou spoke to Law360 about the U.S. Supreme Court’s opportunity to clarify the foreign reach of federal trademark laws as it weighs in on an appeal of a $113 million award based in part on “purely foreign” sales that never reached the U.S.
According to Joyce, the solicitor general’s participation may make the present appeal more challenging for Hetronic International on the question of whether the Tenth Circuit erred in applying the Lanham Act extraterritorially to petitioners’ foreign sales.
However, there is a possibility that the application of the law – even if clarified by the high court – might not change the outcome of the case, said Joyce, who noted that U.S.-based Hetronic presented evidence at trial that actual U.S. consumers were confused about the relationship between the companies’ products.
“Whether or not these instances of confusion arose from a particular trademark use by [Hetronic Germany] in the U.S., instead of abroad, may be impossible to parse, and may not ultimately matter in Hetronic’s case so long as a U.S. consumer was confused,” Joyce said.
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