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Cease and Desist Letters: What Are They, and What Should You Do?

Receiving a sternly worded letter from a law firm on behalf of another person or company ordering you to stop doing something can be stressful, especially if you are not familiar with "cease and desist" letters. Although they can be unsettling, cease and desist letters are fairly common.

Receiving a sternly worded letter from a law firm on behalf of another person or company ordering you to stop doing something can be stressful, especially if you are not familiar with "cease and desist" letters. Although they can be unsettling, cease and desist letters are fairly common.

This blog post will shed some light on what cease and desist letters are, why you may have received one, and what you should do next.  

What is a cease and desist letter?

Cease and desist letters really do two things. First, they ask the recipient to stop doing something immediately. Further, cease and desist letters provide a paper trail for the sender for potential future litigation, so the wording is often intentionally intimidating. 

While a cease and desist letter will likely threaten litigation if you don't stop doing something, the letter itself is not the beginning of a lawsuit, nor is it a guarantee that the sender will take future legal action against you.  

When might you receive a cease and desist letter?

There are many reasons you might receive a cease and desist letter, but two of the most common reasons are claims that you infringed someone's copyright or someone's trademark.

A cease and desist letter alleging copyright infringement might claim that you used someone else's photos or images on your website or in marketing materials.

A letter alleging trademark infringement might claim that your business' name infringes on someone else's trademark, or that your logo design is too similar to another company's trademarked logo.

What to do if you receive a cease and desist letter

The most important thing to do if you get a cease and desist letter is to not panic. The second most important thing to do if you receive a cease and desist letter is to not ignore it! A lot of times, when these letters are received, a mix of emotions can come into play by the recipient of the letter that will cause the recipient to make a rash decision.

Before you do anything, contact an experienced business law attorney to either prepare a response to the letter or help you weigh out  your options. An attorney experienced in this field would likely explain what specific options you have available and help you deal with the situation. 

To learn more, or if you have received a cease and desist letter, contact us today.

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Julian Cordero is an Attorney, Business Strategist, and Music Producer. Oh and he blogs too!  Julian is licensed to practice law in New York and is the Managing Attorney of Cordero Law LLC, a New York City based law firm focusing on Business Law, Entertainment Law, and Intellectual Property Law.