A cease and desist letter is a written communication, demanding the receiver “cease and desist” from actions that infringe the sender’s legal rights or ownership. Generally sent by an attorney or by a law firm, it threatens lawsuit if the alleged violation of the sender’s rights or ownership does not stop, and compensation for violations that have already taken place. It is important to note that it is not a legally binding, but merely a first step before a legal action.
Cease and desist letters are used in many different situations, but they are most often used in connection with alleged infringement of intellectual property rights, such as trademarks, copyrights, and patents. A typical cease and desist notice lays downs the details of the extent of violation or misuse of sender’s legal rights. It also outlines the requisitions to be complied by the infringer.
A cease and desist letters can be filled in many issues such as –
Infringement of IP rights (trademarks, patents, copyrights)
In defamation such as libel and slander
Breach of contract
For Debt collection
Comply With It
The easiest and most cost-effective way of dealing with a cease and desist letter is to comply with it. If the requested action is minor and will not disrupt your business, you may want to consider complying with the request.
Prepare a Response
Your response could be denying the claims with no explanation or denying the claims with a lengthy explanation, or suggesting negotiations to settle down the claims. If your claims are valid, you could also send your own cease and desist letter. You must address every point made and disprove all the unworthy points with credible evidences from your side.
In many cases, your lawyer would draft and also send the response on your behalf, so that the other side knows that you are working with a lawyer.
Try to Negotiate
Sometimes the best option would be to negotiate with the party that sent you the cease and desist letter. For example, if the letter alleges that you are infringing on a trademark right, you could try to negotiate a license that would allow you to continue using owner’s trademark with his permission. While this cannot be applicable in all scenarios, negotiating can sometimes satisfy the needs of both parties and do away with expensive litigation.