Business owners and managers are required to handle all types of situations and problems. One situation that needs attention occurs when someone tries to take, or unlawfully use, your company’s intellectual property. When this occurs, cease and desist letters must be utilized as a first step in trying to resolve the problem. A cease and desist letter is also called a demand letter, or an infringement letter. The letter is a formal request to stop a specific behavior or conduct. If the behavior does not stop, legal action will be taken.
Purpose of Cease and Desist Letters
The purpose of the cease and desist letter is to provide the perpetrator with knowledge that the behavior is not legal, and that a lawsuit will ensue if the conduct does not end. The letter is usually a first step, which is sometimes all it takes to end the person’s behavior. While legal action can be taken immediately, it is generally more cost effective to send a cease and desist letter first. If the behavior continues, then you can decide to move ahead with a legal case.
Sending a Cease and Desist Letter
A cease and desist letter should be properly drafted to make sure that it complies with the law. The letter must identify the situation causing concern, including the improper behavior. The letter must be sent by registered mail so that receipt is confirmed. It is best to have the letter drafted by an experienced business attorney. The attorney knows the applicable laws and will ensure that the letter legally protects your company. Your attorney will also review the response to the letter and provide you with your available options.
Receiving a Cease and Desist Letter
Those who are recipients of cease and desist letters need to take them seriously. The letter should be reviewed by an attorney, and a response is usually required. You must determine whether you have reason to believe that your actions were legal. You may not have done anything wrong. However, you will have to prove that your actions were legal and that you were within your rights.
Protection Intellectual Property
Intellectual property, trademarks, business information, and other data may be confidential. In order to make sure that these items are not stolen, you should put non-disclose agreements in place. NDAs are helpful by making sure that your company’s important secrets are not used by others. While an NDA offers protection against employees and contractors, others may take your trademark, name, or other data and use it as their own. When this occurs, a cease and desist letter is needed to let the person know that the actions will not be tolerated.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Cease and Desist Letters, or any other litigation matter, please feel free to contact Stockton D. Banfield at 480.461.5356, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.