In this blog, We are going to brief cease and desist letters, what are they? Who can send one? When can I send one? What to do you need to know about them? What are some common mistakes?
What is Cease Letter
Cease Letter is quite simply a letter asking someone to stop doing something that they should not be doing and in general, the letter should ask that person to stop doing it because they’re breaching your rights
When should I send one?
There are many examples such as copyright infringement e.g. please stop using my material or image or my music in a way that infringes my copyright. Alternatively, it could be a trademark infringement.
You might see it in the area of defamation and ask someone to please stop defaming you in a way that’s false because it tends to harm your reputation i.e. cease making the defamatory comments (aka imputations)
Cease and desist letter could be used for a contract i.e. please cease or stop breaching the contract so. As such there are all sorts of infringing conduct that is more numerous that what can be catalogued here.
Why would I send one?
It’s less expensive and aggressive than a lawsuit so typically if a party is interested in suing another party they would first informally request the infringer to stop the problem activity so you don’t have to go to court and have a judge’s order. A cease and desist letter is a powerful way to put them on notice that they need to stop breaking your rights or they could end up having to go to court to sort it out.
Who can send one?
Anybody whose rights are affected can send one, you could send one or for that matter your neighbour could send one provided they have a legal right that is being breached. They can also be sent from a law firm and if so that may signal that the person complaining has lawyered up and is ready to take legal steps if the demand is ignored.
In short, anybody can send a cease and desist letter. The trick is to have one that is relevant to the topic and that deals with the issues at hand.
What are some common mistakes?
A common mistake is being overly aggressive in the copyright or intellectual property law context. If you simply get hung up on your rights and act entitled the recipient of the letter may run off to court and get a declaration as to rights. That could end up being expensive so be sure that you have the right relied upon especially when it comes to copyright matters.
Another common mistake is to be vague about what it is that you want. Your letter must state:
- what is it that is complained of?
- why do you have this right and how has it been breached?
- what must the recipient do to comply with your demand?
- what are the potential consequences if the cease and desist letter is ignored
There’s obvious stuff like the letter not looking professional, grammar and spelling issues or format problems or inaccuracies. You can select Cease and Desist Letter Templates (NSW) online if you would like to try and save legal costs and generate your own template for editing by yourself.