A cease-and-desist letter is a legal document that serves as a formal request for an individual or business to stop a specific activity that is believed to be in violation of a legal right, such as trademark or copyright infringement. The letter also serves as a warning that legal action may be taken if the activity does not stop. It is a common tool used to address and resolve disputes outside of court and can be issued by an attorney or other legal representative on behalf of a client.
Below, I explain what you should do if you receive a cease-and-desist letter letter.
What Should I Do If I Received a Cease-and-Desist Letter?
First, as uncomfortable as it may seem, please review the entire letter.
Read the letter’s contents carefully, noting any deadlines. In most instances, the letter is signed by an attorney, but it is possible that a non-attorney may have sent you a cease-and-desist letter.
Cease-and-desist letters typically contain references:
- the aggrieved party’s trademark rights
- proof of registration
- exhibits containing specimens
- demand to cease-and-desist
This is not an exhaustive list. Then, resist the urge to respond immediately. Instead, I urge you to contact a qualified attorney.
- A qualified attorney can help you make sense of the claims and whether they are applicable to you. Having an attorney familiar with drafting and answering cease-and-desist letters levels the playing field to your advantage. After all, how can you know for sure if the letter’s allegations are true?
- Especially if you are dealing with and adverse or hostile attorney, getting an attorney on your side can buy you additional time to respond. This is because attorneys have a duty of fairness to each other, and routinely grant extensions of time so that the recipients’ attorney can counsel his/her client.
- Finally, an attorney familiar with cease-and-desist letters can help reduce the demands in the letter or help get rid of them altogether. Wouldn’t you agree that’s money well spent?
In fact, the USPTO recommends hiring a private trademark attorney. Failure to respond to a cease-and-desist letter letter can have major legal consequences, such as the adverse party filing suit.
Does the Cease-and-Desist Letter Mean I Engaged in Trademark Infringement?
No, not necessarily.
Receiving a cease-and-desist letter does not necessarily mean that you have engaged in infringement. A cease-and-desist letter is a formal request to stop an activity that is believed to be in violation of a legal right, but it is not a formal legal determination of infringement.
It is important to review the allegations made in the letter and consult with a legal professional to understand your rights and options. It’s also possible that the sender of the letter may have made an error or overstated their claims. It’s important to respond professionally and in a timely manner, and consider getting legal advice if you are uncertain of your rights or if you want to take any action.
I Want to Send an Infringer a Trademark Cease-and-Desist Letter
Generally, you must register your trademark before sending a trademark cease-and-desist letter.
A trademark identifies the source of goods and/or services. A trademark distinguishes your mark from others.
Trademark registration confers proprietary, exclusive territorial rights to the use of a name, logo, or slogan. In addition, registration is limited to the scope of goods and/or services selected. For instance, the there are two owners for “DOVE”–one owner sells chocolate, while the other sells soap.
As such, trademark registration comes with a powerful right–the ability to exclude others from infringing upon your mark. This is where trademark cease-and-desist letters come into play. A cease-and-desist letter is the stop gap between normal business and litigation.
Conclusion and Recommendation
In summary, if you receive a trademark cease-and-desist letter, do not panic, but read the C&D letter carefully. In conclusion, Syed Law offers competitive, flat fee trademark cease-and-desist letter packages.