Cease and Desist Letters
A cease and desist letter is essentially a warning letter advising a person or organization to stop performing certain acts or behaviors that infringe upon another party’s rights, usually intellectual property rights. These letters are often used as the first step in protecting an individual’s intellectual property (IP) from those who use trademarked‚ copyrighted‚ or patented property without authorization. If you believe your IP rights have been violated‚ it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced intellectual property lawyer to determine whether you have grounds for taking legal action.
If an infringement arises, we are aggressive intellectual property litigation attorneys. We will fight hard to protect your IP rights and your best interests in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
When are Cease and Desist Letters Used?
While a cease and desist letter may be used as a warning against any unauthorized or harmful activity‚ it is most often sent in the context of some infringement of an intellectual property right‚ namely‚ a trademark infringement‚ copyright infringement‚ or patent infringement. These letters – which are sometimes incorrectly referred to as a “cease and desist order” – may be written and sent by anyone and are not backed by a court or government authority. However‚ cease and desist letters often serve as the first step in the process of initiating a lawsuit if the infringer does not refrain from violating the IP rights. As such, we strongly suggest that a cease and desist letter, or a response to one, not only come from an attorney, but that the letter comes from an intellectual property attorney that litigates. This will show the other side that you are very serious about protecting or defending your rights.
Common circumstances in which a cease and desist letter may need to be sent include:
Trademark infringement‚ such as the unauthorized use of a confusingly similar trademark on competitor services‚
Copyright infringement‚ such as the unauthorized reproduction of a work of authorship, and
Patent infringement‚ such as the unauthorized use or sale of a novel and non-obvious invention.
What Elements are Included in a Cease and Desist Letter?
First and foremost‚ a cease and desist letter should give proper notice of the legal rights of the IP owner and clearly describe how the other party is in violation of those rights. The letter will then request that the other party stop the illegal or unauthorized actions within a defined period of time. In our cease and desist letters, we demand that the violator stop the infringing behavior immediately upon receipt of the letter, and confirm in writing within 10 days that the activity has ceased. Since it is clear that we are Intellectual Property litigators‚ the letter will also inform the violator that failure to obey to our cease and desist letter will result in legal action which is usually a lawsuit in federal court. Our response to a cease and desist letter typically states the facts and law on why there is no infringement.
Will I Need an Attorney to Write a Cease and Desist Letter or Respond to One?
It is possible for anyone to write requesting that an intellectual property infringer cease and desist actions that violate trademark, copyright‚ or patent protections, or to respond to one. However‚ violators of intellectual property rights often consider cease and desist letters sent by the intellectual property owner alone to be empty threats. When drafted and sent by an experienced and knowledgeable intellectual property attorney‚ your letter will carry more weight and will possibly bring a quick and favorable resolution to the matter. We believe it is crucial to work with an intellectual property attorney in order to draft an appropriate and effective letter. Deciding not to hire an attorney only sends the message that you are not serious about protecting your rights, or that you don’t have the money to enforce your rights. Moreover‚ making inaccurate or false accusations or threatening harm can result in many negative repercussions including claims of defamation, libel, interference with business relations, etc. which could trump the original infringement.
What if the Other Party Ignores the Cease and Desist Letter?
If you have already sent your own cease and desist letter and it is ignored by the recipient‚ it is time to hire an intellectual property lawyer. If a letter is ever ignored, we usually suggest filing a lawsuit as a next step. We may be able to file a civil lawsuit in federal court requesting damages and an injunction to stop the infringer from continuing to use your protected intellectual property. Unlike a cease and desist letter‚ failure to comply with an injunction or court order can result in criminal or civil penalties because it is backed by a court of law.
We strongly believe in your right to protect your trademark, copyright, or patent that you worked so hard to obtain and we will stand by your side throughout the process of stopping infringers. Through a complimentary consultation‚ we can determine whether sending a cease and desist letter is the best course of action for your circumstance. If you need to send a cease and desist letter‚ or if you have received a cease and desist letter and need to respond‚ please feel free to contact us.