Cease and desist letters may be useful in a number of circumstances including
- Defamation, Slander, or Libel
- Trademark Infringement
- Copyright Infringement
- Patent Infringement
- Breach of Contract
- Debt Collection (to collection agency or creditor under Fair Debt Collections Practices Act)
Legal Effect of a Cease & Desist Letter
From a legal perspective, a cease and desist letter is simply a letter. It does not equivalent to a court order, law, summons, or legal action. The cease and desist letter is simply a notice to the person receiving it and a request, albeit strongly worded, to cease and desist behavior that the author of the letter believes is illegal.
One important legal effect of a cease and desist letter is the recipient can no longer use the excuse that the recipient did not know that their act was illegal. Thus, if the person receiving the letter persists in the activity mentioned in the letter, the person is deemed to have knowledge of the fact that the activity may be illegal. In copyright and trademark infringement law, that knowledge may be an element to prove intent, willfulness, and bad faith.
Thus, although a cease and desist letter is merely a letter from the author, it at least has the effect of putting the recipient on notice.
Cease and Desist Letter Example Form
Wondering what a cease and desist letter looks like? Here is an example of a copyright infringement cease and desist letter.
Cease & Desist Letter from Non-Attorney vs. Attorney
A cease and desist letter will be most effective when sent by an attorney (Minnesota cease and desist letter lawyer) to the person engaging in illegal conduct. When cease and desist letters are sent by a lawyer, they are afforded greater weight because the person receiving the letter knows that (1) someone was upset enough to hire an attorney and (2) the attorney is equipped to proceed with legal action.
Defamation, Slander, or Libel Cease & Desist Letter
A cease and desist letter for defamation, which includes slander and libel, typically involves telling someone to stop speaking negatively about you or publishing negative information about you that is factually false. However, a cease and desist letter does little to address the defamation that has already occurred, which may already have significant consequences and a life of its own on the rumor mill.
Trademark Infringement Cease & Desist Letter
Cease and desist letters are a very effective way to deal with trademark infringement because many times the other business does not realize that they are infringing on a trademark. Thus, a cease and desist letter may effectively persuade someone to cease and desist infringing on a trademark.
Copyright Infringement Cease & Desist Letter
Cease and desist letters are often used to fight copyright infringement online. Sometimes called a “Take Down Notice,” a cease and desist letter to a website owner may direct the owner to take down music, videos, or written text that is copyrighted.
Patent Infringement Cease & Desist Letter
Due to the expense involved in patents, a cease and desist letter to someone in infringing on a patent owner’s rights often includes a demand for payment to settle the matter. While this may be true for other cease and desist letters as well, the expensive nature of patents and their ability to generate significant revenue makes them especially susceptible to lawsuits for financial damages, and this cease and desist letter may merely be the first step before a lawsuit is commenced.
Harassment Cease & Desist Letter
Sometimes, a cease and desist letter is used when one person is harassing another. If the cease and desist letter is ineffective, the person may seek a temporary restraining order.
Breach of Contract Cease & Desist Letter
Sometimes attorneys use cease and desist letters to address one party’s breach of a contract. However, contract usually require parties to act in a certain way, not cease from acting, so cease and desist letters are not frequently used in breach of contract cases.
Debt Collection Cease & Desist Letter
Cease and desist letters are sometimes used with debt collectors, collection agencies, or others who violate the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act gives debtors a number of rights and methods to go after those who violate the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.
Cease & Desist Letter Attorney
If you need help with a cease and desist letter, you should contact an attorney experienced in this type of work. A generic cease and desist letter has far less value than a cease and desist letter that sites specific laws and statutes that are being violated. An experienced attorney will know which laws and statutes to integrate into the cease and desist letter to communicate the severity of continuing to violate your rights and break the law.