Legal systems allow you to take action against infringement of your rights within the legal purview. Cease and desist letters and orders are increasingly becoming the go-to option to prevent an entity from continuing with an act that infringes its rights. It is incumbent to send the letter to build an ironclad lawsuit if it gets down to it. We review the best practices and uses of cease and desist letters to prevent rights infringement.
What Do Cease and Desist Mean?
Cease and desist means to stop a specific action(s) and refrain from doing it in the future. Therefore, it is a cautionary notice to the infringer to stop violating your rights henceforth.
What Is a Cease and Desist Order?
A cease and desist order or injunction is a court-mandated order to a recipient to halt their actions and abstain from the same. The order is legally binding and will result in punitive action if they do not adhere to the order guidelines delineated in the order. Some cease and desist orders are administered without judicial proceedings. Other government agencies may also issue injunctions; however, ultimately, the court rules the roost.
Warning: Unlike a cease and desist letter, contravening a cease and desist order is a legal offense. Recipients face a jail term, fines, and being found in contempt of court if they do not follow through with the order.
What Is a Cease and Desist Letter?
A cease and desist letter is a cautionary notice to the recipient to stop undertaking activities that antagonize you and refrain from infringing action in the future. An attorney, business entity, or individual can issue the letter. The notice is a pre-litigious option that notifies the recipient they are infringing on your rights and the steps they will take to stop. The statement also outlines that the consequent violation of the rights in the letter will result in a lawsuit.
Note: A cease and desist letter is not legally binding. The letter aims to avoid legal action; however, filing it will survey as proof of intent to solve the infringement issues outside court and may tip scales in your favor if there was infringement.
What Is a Cease and Desist Letter Template?
A cease and desist letter template is a predesigned fillable letter you fill with the infringer’s acts and customize with other provisions to settle the issue, then save print and send it. The templates save you the hassle of writing one from scratch.
How a Cease and Desist Letter Works
Cease and desist letters have various utilities, from seeking restitution to preventing punitive debt collection methods. However, at its core is ceasing rights violation. Issuing the letter will result in either: a positive response in which you will solve the issue after a sit-down, a negative response, or ignorance in which you will seek legal action. The letter is meant to scare the recipient into ceasing the said actions and refrain from ever infringing your rights in the future.
Sample Cease and Desist Letter
Writing a cease and desist letter is surprisingly easy. It is the wording that ultimately determines the outcome.
Tip: Use a firm yet open tone in your letter. You can use legal parlance to intimidate (not threaten) the recipient.
Here is a sample to guide you:
NOTICE TO CEASE AND DESIST
Re: Notice to Cease and Desist for Specific Activity
This letter is served upon due to ____________________________________________ (“Activity”).
If you do not cease the aforementioned Activity, a lawsuit will be commenced against you.
If the Activity continues, we will immediately seek a temporary restraining order in the District Court against you and any accomplices in this matter. We will also seek monetary damages to be proved at trial. Hopefully, this recourse is unnecessary; we have our interests to protect and vigorously do so.
You will not receive another warning letter. If you do not confirm in writing to us by the ___ day of ____________________, 20___ that you will cease violating our Agreement a lawsuit will be commenced immediately.
[Dated Signature] __________________
Ways to Use a Cease and Desist Letter
The following are ways to use a cease and desist letter:
You can send a cease and desist letter to the perpetrator to stop harassing you sexually, emotionally, or physically. The letter will notify the offender of imminent legal action if they do not cease. If the harassment doesn’t stop, alternative remedies are at your disposal.
A trademark infringement is an intellectual property infringement. The letter notifies the recipient that they infringe on your unique identity, brand, or logo and should stop. Businesses usually send this kind of notice.
Just like trademarks, the law also protects copyright holders. A cease and desist letter prevents further use of copyright property other than its intended use without the holder’s permission. A cease and desist letter for copyright infringement contains more clauses as it explicitly states the approved use of the copyright.
Stop slander or libel
Defamatory comments may ruin a person’s reputation or cause monetary loss. In such cases, issue a letter to the party to demand them to stop defamation, slander, or libel and that you will pursue legal action if they do not cease.
Stop illegal debt collection
The law entitles you to send a cease and desist letter to a loaning agency if they attempt to collect the debt or contact you through illegal channels illegally. Federal and state laws regulate how debt collection agencies enforce debt collection and contact. Continued violation of the letter will result in penalties against the debt collector.
Stop boundary encroachment
Send a Cease-and-desist letter to an encroacher to demand they stop encroaching your land or property. Violation of your space entitles you to send a notice outlining their practices and repercussions.
How to Send a Cease and Desist Letter
You can send the letter via email and hand-deliver it through an attorney or mail. The best is certified mail. Certified mail provides a receipt which is proof the recipient received the letter. Remember to keep a copy of the letter for future use.
What Happens After Sending The Letter?
After you send the letter, you have to wait for a response from the recipient. Suppose you stated when you expect a response stand-by until the deadline has lapsed. The answer may acknowledge the infringement, and you may seek amicable ways to solve the violation.
Warning: Including threats and blackmail in your letter can result in criminal charges from the recipient. It is best to ask an attorney which repercussions you should include in the notice.
However, you may file a lawsuit if they ignore or decline the letter. Alternatively, you can follow through with the repercussions stated to portray your seriousness according to the matter. Be prepared for court, though.
Benefits Of Using a Cease and Desist Letter
The significant merits of using cease and desist letters are:
- Stops the action if the recipient corresponds to terminate and refrains from malpractices.
- If the cease and desist letter stop the unfair practices, you will avoid lawsuit costs.
- The letter states your rights and how the other party should respect them, serving as a reminder.
- You can provide the letter in court as evidence you notified the recipient before pursuing legal action.
Yes, anyone can write a cease and desist letter. Write and send your letter If you have irrefutable proof of violation. However, having an attorney help is the intelligent thing to do.
It depends on how watertight your claims are. Sending the notice with evidence of the infringement is not illegal; however, sending the letter if there is no infringement CAN result in legal action against you.
Yes. A significant number of clients get positive responses. Have an attorney draft the letter for the positive outcomes.
Suppose your claims have no solid ground, then yes. The recipient can file a lawsuit against you if they wish so.
The sender will pursue the repercussions stated or file a lawsuit. In both cases, you will have the chance to defend yourself in court.
A court or relevant government agency regulated by federal or local law can issue an injunction. Sometimes government agencies can give the order without legal proceedings.
A cease and desist letter, however not legally binding, holds weight. Liaise with your attorney to issue the letter if you have proof of rights violation or a breach of contract. Remember to send the letter via certified mail always.
Disclaimer: This post is for educational purposes only and should be treated as such. Do not substitute this post for legal counsel from a certified attorney.