Have you ever received a cease and desist letter from court? If yes, then this is an alarming situation that means you have done something wrong, or did something that was not supposed to be done. Whether it is necessary to do or not, you are now supposed to discontinue that act since it is prohibited. Cease and desist is basically given by the court or a government agency to make you refrain from illegal practices. Sometimes this letter is also issued by the government to discontinue unfair practices.

Additionally, some clients or businesses may also file this letter if they think that your business is threatening them in any way. It can be used by any individual as well as businesses. When a cease and desist letter is filed against someone, they have to act on it immediately.. Let’s help you explore the basics of a cease and desist letter in detail below.

What is a Cease and Desist Letter?

Cease and desist is a legal order given by the court or government to a business or an individual to halt the illegal activity or unfair practice against someone or something. Both these words are verbs meaning to discontinue, stop and bring an end to something. According to the Interest Rate Control Act of 1978, this order bans the person or company from activities that are suspicious. Other than the mentioned two reasons above, there can be many other reasons for filing the cease and desist order. We will be discussing them in a later section. The reasons may vary in every industry.

Furthermore, the cease and desist is the first step to ask an individual or business to stop doing something that is found to be illegal. This letter may be sent to the party in case of trademark infringement, slander, libel, defamation, patent infringement, copyright infringement etc. There can be many other reasons like debt collection, breach of contract or harassment. Often, it is also issued for unfair compensation or labor practices.

Moreover, the letter should also comply with the laws. When the party receives the letter, they are being called for a hearing in a court to see whether or not any wrongdoing has occurred or not. If the party does not comply with the cease and desist order, they will be punished by the court. This is why it is necessary to fulfill the demands and stop the illegal practice.

Potential Reasons to Write Cease and Desist Letter

One of the best official and formal ways to tell someone to stop doing something immediately is to use the cease and desist letter. When someone is trying to misuse your pictures without any copyrights or tries to rip off your trademark, you need not worry about it at all.

You do not have to take all of this forever. Just give them the legal warning and proceeding from the court directly. This can help regaining some peace. Let’s explore some legitimate reasons that can make you write a cease and desist order.

To Stop Invasion of Privacy, Stalking and Harassment

Harassment issues are really tricky to deal with. If you find a person harassing you or seeking for your attention in unacceptable ways, you have all the right to send a cease and desist letter to them.

Additionally, filing this letter would show them you are seriously offended by what they have done and they may be punished for it as well. Also, this will make them realize that harassing you would make them suffer the legal costs and fees. Sending this letter will give them a hint that they can be punished and taken to court.

To Stop Copyright and Trademark Infringements

Often some bogus companies try to cheat and infringe trademark and copyrights of genuine companies. This is illegal and is subjected to strict punishment. If someone is infringing your trademark or copyright, you can use a cease and desist letter against them. This can be a sign of warning to them that they can be legally punished for what they are doing. Also, this does not only determine that you have future or present rights to pursue legal actions because of infringement, letter also declares that you can also sue for the damages you have faced.

Be it any professional, whether you are a writer or a business owner, you have all the right for consent if your content is being used or your copyrights are required. Cease and desist order is a great step to help you in getting what is yours. Sending even a succinct cease and desist letter to the other party can literally haunt them.

A cease and desist letter here is very useful, because the actual case may take a long time, and your profits may be hurt during this time. For example, if a company finds out that another company is making videos using characters it has the right to, it can sue the company but the process will take months, during which several videos main be released. A cease and desist letter can be sent quickly, and it effectively says “Stop doing this right now” with an implied legal threat, so the offending company can stop immediately.

To Stop Breach of Contract

Often some parties try to interfere in your contracts. This is where you may require a cease and desist letter. For example, you may have a contract to build something in an area. The company you were in a contract with starts building something else. You can send a cease and desist letter if you want them to stop quickly.

To Stop Slander or Libel

Slander or libel are forms of defamation. This means that some other party’s words end up harming your personal reputation or your lifestyle. Basically, slander is the defamation that is verbal by the defendant and libel is the written or published defamatory statement made by someone against you. This can happen among business owners, employees, local people, and everyone.

The right way to deal with this is to use a cease and desist letter and ask them to stop. It could also be a false statement written about you. You need to explain the defamation and provide logic that is causing damage to you. Anything that causes damages to you emotionally, monetary, and humiliates you in anyway, can be the reason to write cease and desist letter.

Cease and Desist Templates

Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Cease and Desist Letter

Writing a cease and desist can be a time-consuming process. To help you save time, you can use cease and desist letter templates available online. You can simply download a template and write the letter in it. People often make some mistakes when they write a cease and desist letter. If you want to protect your intellectual property, you will need to write it properly, and avoid common mistakes. Check out the mistakes you are most likely to make when writing a cease and desist letter.

Not hiring a lawyer

The core aim of a cease and desist letter is to ask someone to stop doing something that they do not have the right to do. For instance, if you want to ask some to stop doing things against your business, you cannot do that on your own. It should come from someone who knows the correct legal terminology to know how to write a valid cease and desist letter.

Mostly, these professional people are attorneys. They have the ability to sound strict and legally handle the procedure. A letterhead of a certified and credible attorney would definitely frighten the offending party; and they would likely not take the case to court, and would rather prefer to close it with mutual consent. Not hiring the attorney would give a chance to the offending party to conveniently take serious action against you.

Making empty threats

Empty threats mean that when you do not really mean what you say. Let’s help you understand this point through an example. Let’s suppose you send an ultimatum to a business competitor to stop violating your intellectual property under 25 days. All these days have been passed and they are still violating your intellectual property and you did nothing.

Firstly, this proves that your cease and desist letter was not as strongly worded or as clear as it should have been. Not taking action simply means that you are making empty threats. You should have taken them to court or pursued another legal action as soon as it became clear that they did not intend to comply. By making mistake, you will unintentionally depict an image of not following your threats through.

When You Do Not Provide a Clear Reason in the Letter

Do you really think it is time to send a cease and desist letter to the party? When you do not have a proper reason to send the letter, your threat will not be considered genuine. Cease and desist letters need to be very clear with claims. Legal proceedings should be provided to the infringers with proof. Additionally, you also need to ensure that the proof you provide should be genuine. In order to provide a clear reason in the letter, you need to go through the following steps.

  • You need to properly research about the offending party who you suspect is violating your intellectual property.
  • You also need to research the potential violator regarding their history of lawsuits. You need to check if they have involved in them previously or not.
  • You also need to ensure to talk to the attorney seriously as to what will happen if the alleged infringer does not respond to your letter.

When You are Not Taking Steps to Protect Your Property

When you are serious about protecting your property and want to secure it anyhow, you have to take steps for that. This means that you need to take affirmative steps to register your intellectual property with the federal government.

What this means is that you should have the legal legwork done to make sure your cease and desist letter has something to stand on. When you create something, you get the rights for it by default. But if you do not register your intellectual property, the other party can claim that they made it. Eventually the courts will side with you but the process will take many months, in which you will face financial damages. It is much better to have a paper trail that easily proves that you are the owner of the intellectual property, it also adds gravitas to your cease and desist letter when it is backed by such evidence.

Cease and Desist Samples

What Does a Cease and Desist Template Cover?

Cease and desist letter templates are readily available online. The necessary information that is supposed to be in the cease and desist template is as follows.

  • You need to add the sender’s name, complete address, and phone number.
  • You also require mentioning the name, address of the offending individual and entity to whom the letter is being sent.
  • You also need to mention date on the letter.
  • The most important aspect you have to mention is the reasoning. You need to be clear in providing the description to the activities that need to stop.
  • After mentioning the activity that needs to cease and desist, you need to provide a warning as well. You should be open about the warning and clearly mention what action can be taken if they do not stop that activity.
  • The warning should be followed by a time limit to comply with the demand. Time limit should be assigned with respect to the nature of the issue.

Final Thought

No entity and individual has right to use or infringe your registered property. If someone does that, you have all the right to sue them. Cease and desist letter templates are one of the steps that can help you take action against them and warn them. If you have doubts that your competitor is trying to misuse your property, download cease and desist letter templates now and take action against them!

TemplateLab January 24th, 2017

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