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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"
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Last updated March 14, 2009


Without jurisdiction a court cannot legally rule on an issue. It is the first thing a court must establish. Federal issues must be litigated in federal court. What establishes federal jurisdiction is federal law, such as the Copyright Act or the Lanham Act, or a dispute between parties located in different states that meet certain requirements.

Someone in Maryland who wants to sue someone in California must meet the federal requirments for the suit to be federal. If there is no federal law involved, then the issue must include a sustainable claim of damages for more than $75,000. Otherwise it is litigated in state court. We don't get into very much state law.

A jurisdiction statement is like the one we used when we sued Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts:


This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiffs' Copyright Act claims under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332, and 2201. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendants under the test established in Calder v. Jones, 465 US 783 (1984), applying Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-1-124. Venue is proper in this District under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).

This Court also has jurisdiction under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) under 17 U.S.C. § 512 (g)(3)(D) which provides that “jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which the address (of the Plaintiffs) is located.”

This is an exmple only. You will have to research what federal laws apply to your situation. Do not copy and use as you will be wrong.

If you are including trademark infrigement, or rather trademark non-infringement as we did, you would quote the Lanham Act.

This Court has jurisdiction over the federal claims in this action under the Trademark Laws of the United States, Lanham Act Sections 32, 39, 43(a), and 43 (c)(1), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1114, 1121 and 1125(a)(c)(1), the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. and the Judicial Code of the United States, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1338(a) and (b). This Court has supplemental jurisdiction over any common law and state statutory claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

This is an exmple only. You will have to research what federal laws apply to your situation. Do not copy and use as you will be wrong.

If your eBay auction was terminated, you can use Dudnikov v. Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts as part of your jurisdiction statement. If the name sound familiar, it is us. This is our Thenth Circuit Court of Appeals win boiled down to one sentence:

Jurisdiction has also been established through the use of Notice of Claimed Infringement (“NOCI”) as stated by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. See Dudnikov v. Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts, No. 06-1458---F.3d---, 2008 WL 217724, at *2 (10th Cir. Jan. 28, 2008), that use of an NOCI is harm directed at the forum state and establishes personal jurisdiction.

Many states have a "long-arm statute" which allows a resident to sue a non-resident who caused harm to them. That state statute should also be quoted and you will have to look that up. You will encounter two types of jurisdiction: general and personal or specific. General jurisdiction is where the other party does business in your state. Personal jurisdiction is harder to establish. You MUST establish one or both.


We are not lawyers and we cannot give you legal advice. Our opinions and the information provided is based upon our experiences in federal court as well as research. You should always contact an attorney if you have a legal problem.

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