CEASE AND DESIST LETTER
If you’ve spent any time on the internet researching intellectual property, you’ve likely heard of cease and desist letters.
We’re going to take a look at what exactly a cease and desist letter is before we explore some of the most common reasons why one of these letters threatening legal action may be sent out.
What is a Cease and Desist Letter?
A cease and desist letter is essentially a demand letter that states that the recipient should stop with a respective action or the sender of the letter will pursue legal action.
The interesting thing about cease and desist letters is that they’re not legally binding on their own, but that doesn’t mean that they’re meaningless.
Keep in mind that there’s a difference between a cease and desist letter and a cease and desist order. A cease and desist order is also known as an injunction and it can only be written by a court or government agency. This requires the individual to cease their actions because those actions are illegal after the order has been issued.
These letters are essentially warnings that the sender may end up going to an attorney or law firm and with subsequent legal action legal consequences for the recipient.
There are many reasons why someone may send out a cease and desist letter, and there are also quite a few reasons why sending one may be preferable to immediate litigation.
Why Are Cease and Desist Letters Sent Out?
In the vast majority of cases, a cease and desist letter will be sent to the recipient because of a claim of copyright infringement, trademark infringement or some other infringement of intellectual property. For example, if an artist has their work used to advertise an event and they were not paid for this, the marketing company or event organizer may receive a cease and desist letter.
However, there are many other reasons why you’d send out a cease and desist letter. For example, someone may have breached a contract, in which case you will likely have legal grounds to go after them.
Cease and desist letters can also be sent out to stop individuals from harassing you either threateningly or sexually, and they can also be used to stop slander and defamation. Yet another use is to stop someone from further violating an NDA that they’ve already been circumventing.
Finally, a cease and desist letter can also be used to stop a debt collector from communicating with you.
Why Send a Cease and Desist Letter Instead of Immediately Filing a Lawsuit?
Cease and desist letters are often sent out when the threat of legal action is enough to stop the other party from continuing their actions.
Filing a lawsuit is expensive and time-consuming, even if the plaintiff is right to bring the other party to court. For some companies, filing a lawsuit on a customer may also bring them undue criticism, in which case a cease and desist letter can do all of the work of a suit without bringing the company negative press.
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