US doctrine on international trademark disputes is founded on a precedent from 1952. Steele v. Bulova Watch Co. is the first and only Supreme Court decision on the question of how far US trademark law should be extended beyond the US’s national borders when an international infringement is at issue. Even though cases have drastically multiplied there has been no comprehensive account of the actual state of the law. Courts and commentators continue to rely on a small set of leading cases, Steele and a few appellate court decisions, neglecting the landscape of lower courts’ decision-making. An empirical study of the field’s complete case law from 1952 until 2016 helps to address this blind spot. The results show that much of the conventional wisdom is questionable, if not incorrect. Based on the findings, several corrections to existing doctrine must be suggested.