I am thinking of retaining a firm to sue a company for copyright infringement. I have registered copyrights. If the company has one franchise location in "my state" can an attorney from "my state" sue the main headquarters/their hub (where they have over 25 locations) which is in "another state/not mine"? Based on your reply, I can learn whether I should focus on retaining an attorney from the state of their headquarters, or my state (with their one franchise location), or if retaining an attorney from either state will be effective. If you know of any pros/cons of choosing an attorney from "their" or "my state", your feedback is welcomed.
Either state should work as long as some alleged infringement occurred in that sate. Copyright cases are brought in federal court, and they can be brought in any federal court where i) some alleged infringement occurred and ii) you can find personal jurisdiction over the defendant. When the defendant is a company with multiple offices and locations, you can find personal jurisdiction in any state where the company does business or is registered. Many companies are incorporated in Delaware and it is a frequent place to sue companies in Federal Court. There may be some strategic advantage to suing in you home Court as opposed to their home Court, but that is something you should discuss with your IP attorney.
You can consult with an experienced IP litigator who is local to you -- because the case has to be in federal Court that attorney should be able to represent you in a federal court in a different state, and if necessary retain a local counsel there.
<strong>DISCLAIMER:</strong> This posting is for general education only. It is not legal advice and you should not rely on it as a legal advice. This answer or any other postings on Avvo are not intended to, and do not, establish an attorney-client relationship with Stefan R. Stoyanov or the law Firm of Stoyanov Law PLLC.
Typically, you are going to bring the action where the defendant resides or conducts business, or where their principal place of business is located. As noted, you are also able to bring the action where the infringement occurred.
If you for example sued where you are located only to have them remove the case to another venue closer to them, witnesses, etc. then you may end up having to hire yet another lawyer which will cost you even more money.
The fact that you are asking this rather procedural question here tells us that you have yet to have legal counsel conduct a proper case/matter analysis which you should do straight away to ensure you are not investing in a problem.
I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.
DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed with the law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC on the basis of this posting.
If you truly want to know which state is best, you should review the case law of each -- if the states are in the same circuit, the case law would be the same. Use the state where the case law is most favorable.
The answer is a definite maybe. The choice of proper personal jurisdiction and venue is something that your copyright litigation attorney needs to make based on the facts in the case. You are usually safe suing in the defendant's headquarters or state of incorporation. Whether you can sue in a state where they are conducting business, is likely but is not certain.
I suggest that you also contact an experienced Copyright infringement attorney who can advise you in confidence. Many Copyright/IP firms, like our own, offer an initial free conference by telephone, video conference or in person if you are available locally and would be happy to speak with you. Call and speak with an experienced Copyright infringement attorney who can assist you.
Mr. Sack's postings on Avvo are of a general nature, based on the facts provided and are not intended to be taken as legal advice or to establish an attorney-client relationship.
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