cease and desist

What is a Cease and Desist Letter?

A cease and desist letter can be used in different circumstances and are a formal way of requesting someone to end an activity that is presumed to infringe upon your legal rights. This letter advises the person from stopping such actions, or else, legal action can be taken. Let us go through more details about this type of letter and steps a cease and desist lawyer takes.

Issuance of Cease and Desist Letter

There are a number of situations where you may feel the need to issue this type of letter.

  • Defamation, slander, or libel
  • Copyright, patent, or trademark infringement
  • Violation of NCA or Non Competition Agreement
  • Harassment by debt collectors
  • Breach of contract

A cease and desist letter is also utilized for stopping contributory infringements where a person knowingly take part in it.  This type of infringement is also called as contributory or secondary liability.

Benefits of Sending a Cease and Desist Letter

It is usually a formal step after someone is informally notified to stop. The benefit of this letter is that it makes your request formal and becomes a step towards further legal action. The good thing about this letter is that it establishes the fact that the offender has been informed about the violation. After the cease and desist letter is sent, they can not say that they were not aware that they had done some sort of violation. The violator can then take one of the following actions:

  • Stop infringing activity
  • Put a challenge against the letter’s validity
  • Ignore the letter and face legal action

Let us now look at some situations where sending a cease and desist letter becomes necessary.

When to send a cease and desist letter?

A Step Against Debt Collectors

According to legal advice by lawyers, this letter proves to be an effective means of forcing debt collectors to stay away from making harassing calls as well as surprise visits. After the letter is sent, debt collectors are allowed to get in touch with you only once and that too to inform you that they are stopping all communication.

Preventing Copyright and Trademark Infringement

In case you find some other company is infringing upon your copyright or trademark then this letter works as a formal request to inform that they should cease such infringing activity. This letter also suggests that you can decide to sue the other party for damages that have already been sustained irrespective of the fact that the infringer immediately ceases such activity.

Stop Stalking or Harassment

Harassment in the form of stalking often proves to be quite disturbing. A cease and desist letter indicates to stalkers that you want to be left alone. In most cases, the stalker decides that stalking will not be worth incurring legal expenditure and will stop such behavior. If they do not desist from the activity then the letter will work as strong evidence in court.

Prevent Slander or Libel

This letter is also utilized for telling someone to stay away from making damaging or false oral or written statements against you. However, you will have to take legal advice on how to mention details about false statements in the letter and how those statements are causing damage. Such damage can include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Humiliation
  • Monetary losses

Prevent Breach of Contract

Many times this letter is used for preventing others from damaging your contractual rights. For example, there is an employment agreement between you and your employees and your competitors hires one of your employees with the knowledge that the employee has a contract with you. In this situation, sending a cease and desist letter would be the right thing to do. This type of breach of contract is known as tortious interference and can be used effectively against your competitors.

Now, let us explore the details that you should include in your cease and desist letter.

Contents of a Cease and Desist Letter

The aim should be to include all the details about the violation in the letter. However, a few of the details that should be present in every letter include:

  • Your name
  • Your contact details
  • Recipient’s contact details and name
  • Clear statements about the actions that should cease
  • Warning regarding legal action that can be taken
  • Specific time limit within which compliance should occur (such as 10 to 15 days)

In case the cease and desist letter is about stopping a collection agency then the letter should include other details such as information about your debt, your account number, proper documentation that highlights the fact that you are being harassed.

If the letter is about patent, trademark, or copyright infringement then other details to be included are:

  • Details about the property
  • Circumstances and dates when the violation occurred
  • Proof that shows you have ownership of the property
  • Details of the consequences that the other party has to suffer if future violations occur

If the aim of sending the letter is to stop harassment then the following details should be part of the letter:

  • Date when the harassment started
  • Details about certain situations that occurred
  • Date by which harasser should respond before further action is taken

You should take legal advice and ensure the letter is a detailed one to document all the harassment you have suffered. In addition, you should send your cease and desist letter to have delivery confirmation or make it necessary to have a recipient’s signature during delivery to make sure the letter was delivered at the right place and was received.

If you also want to send a cease and desist letter then get in touch with us for legal advice. We will thoroughly analyze your situation and help you in developing a strong cease and desist letter that will clearly highlight all necessary details and send a strong message to a third party that is infringing on your rights.