A Cease and Desist letter, also known as a Letter of Demand, is often the first step when communicating with a recipient to stop an action that is illegal or infringes the sender’s legal rights or ownership. If the violation or infringement does not cease, the sender will commonly threaten legal or court action as the next step. The sender may even ask for compensation for the infringement. Cease and Desist letters are often used in IP infringement cases if you are infringing the rights of someone else’s patent, trade mark or copyright.

1. Review the material facts

It is important you review the letter carefully and review the claims made in the letter. While lawyers are obligated to uphold ethical standards and a code, the contents and allegations of the letter may not always be correct. The other party may be bluffing in an attempt to force you into complying with their demands.

2. Request legal assistance

It is important for a business that a Cease and Desist letter is taken seriously. If you think there is a legitimacy to the claim being made after reviewing the facts of the other party, seek legal review of the letter. This will ensure you respond correctly.

3. What action should I take?

After you have reviewed the letter with the help of a lawyer, it is time to take action and respond the demand. How your respond relates to the legitimacy of the claim.

Option 1: Comply with the terms of the demand
If the request is minor and will not disrupt your business, comply with any demands. Often litigation is costly and risky and this often an appropriate choice. For example, you are using a photographer’s copyrighted photo on your website. This is an obvious infringement. It is easy for you to remove the photo and replace it with a stock image or a photo you have taken yourself.

Option 2: No response – the demand has no merit.
If you and or your lawyer have deemed the cease and desist demand is a bogus claim and has no merit, you are not under an obligation to respond as the claim is it is not a legal instrument.

Option 3: Draft a response letter
A response to the demand letter can accept, deny, or create a defence. It can also give an opportunity for you to make your own demand. The response will rest on the facts. You can also bargain and negotiate with the other party. A negotiation will rest on the facts but it may be an option to negotiate the terms of the letter with the other side.

When you receive a Cease and Desist letter is paramount to take it seriously, review the claims, seek legal assistance and respond. If you have any questions, get in contact with our disputes lawyers.

Sophie Glover

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