Cease and Desist Letter

By Lia Kopin-Green
August 14, 2022

What is a Cease and Desist Letter?

Cease and desist letters are written notices demanding an immediate stop to illegal activity. These letters are issued to inform the recipient of alleged violations of the sender’s rights and to demand that the violations cease. Typically, the letter serves as a warning to the offender that legal action may be taken against them if they continue their misconduct. Recipients are usually given a set period of time to cease and desist - generally from 10 to 15 days. In this sense, although cease and desist letters are not necessarily legally binding, they do hold legal power and may be followed by a lawsuit if the receipt chooses to ignore it.

Cease and desist letters are fairly common in intellectual property law and may be used to enforce IP rights and prevent infringement.

Key Takeaways

  • Cease and desist letters are defined as written notices that inform the recipient of alleged misconduct or violation of the sender’s rights and demand that these violations cease immediately.
  • Anyone can issue a cease and desist letter, but they are typically sent by attorneys.
  • They are often used to stop infringements of intellectual property rights, such as copyrights, trademarks, and patents.

Cease and Desist Letters in Intellectual Property Law

When it comes to intellectual property law, cease and desist letters are typically used to stop alleged illegal activity such as copyright infringement. Duplicating branding under trademark or patent without permission may also result in a cease and desist letter. The letter should include details related to the sender's intellectual property rights, the creation in which it relates, and the alleged infringement.

By using a cease and desist letter for IP infringement, you may be able to avoid bringing formal proceedings for IP infringement that would cost you a significant amount of money, time and effort. In other words, if the sender ceases their actions after receiving the letter, the issue is resolved and no lawsuit is required. Moreover, if the IP issue eventually goes to court, the cease and desist letter will act as proof that the sender informed the recipient of the misconduct or violations.

Bottom Line

If you are experiencing some kind of violation to your intellectual property rights, it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to assist in issuing a cease and desist letter. While you may think it’s simpler to write it by yourself, having an experienced intellectual property lawyer help with your letter can make all the difference. Besides knowing the correct legal language to use, the attorney will also be able to advise on which rights have been violated, if any.

In any case, if you have been served with a cease and desist letter, it is not something to be taken lightly. Ignoring it can lead to further legal action, so responding properly is crucial. Therefore, if you receive the letter, contact an IP lawyer right away.

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