What is a Cease and Desist Letter?
Cease and desist is a legal order given by the court or government to a business or an individual to halt the illegal activity or unfair practice against someone or something. Both these words are verbs meaning to discontinue, stop and bring an end to something. The Cease and Desist letter is general purpose and can be used as a request that a business or individual stop any offensive or unwanted behavior.
This letter allows the sender to provide a detailed description of the offensive behavior and the harm that the behavior has caused. According to the Interest Rate Control Act of 1978, this order bans the person or company from activities that are suspicious. Other than the mentioned two reasons above, there can be many other reasons for filing the cease and desist order. The reasons may vary in every industry.
This letter may be sent to the party in case of trademark infringement, slander, libel, defamation, patent infringement, copyright infringement etc. There can be many other reasons like debt collection, breach of contract or harassment. Often, it is also issued for unfair compensation or labor practices.
A Cease and Desist is a letter sent to an individual or business that is engaging in unwelcome or illegal behavior. The Cease and Desist acts as a formal request that the recipient stop ("cease") and not continue ("desist") this behavior. If the recipient of the letter fails to comply with these demands, the sender should be prepared to take further legal action to stop the behavior that is harming or interfering with the sender's rights and abilities to conduct business.
Intellectual Property Cease and Desist letter tailored to demand that some form of intellectual property infringement stop.
Harassment Cease and Desist letter tailored to demand that a party stop harassment
Debt Collection Cease and Desist letter tailored to demand that creditors and debt collectors stop their aggressive communications in an attempt to collect a debt
How to use this document
A Cease and Desist letter includes the following basic elements:
Sender: an individual or business who is requesting that a behavior stop
Recipient: an individual or business who is being asked to stop a behavior
A detailed description of the offending behavior and the negative effects the behavior has had
A warning that a lawsuit will result if the offending behavior does not stop
A deadline by which the offending behavior must stop or else further legal action will be taken
Once the letter has been completed, it should be sent via certified mail to the individual or business that has been conducting the offensive behavior. Additionally, some clients or businesses may also file this letter if they think that your business is threatening them in any way. It can be used by any individual as well as businesses. When a cease and desist letter is filed against someone, they have to act on it immediately. The letter should comply with the laws. When the party receives the letter, they are being called for a hearing in a court to see whether or not any wrongdoing has occurred or not. If the party does not comply with the cease and desist order, they will be punished by the court. This is why it is necessary to fulfill the demands and stop the illegal practice.
There are no laws outlining what must be included in a Cease and Desist letter. However, best practices dictate that a Cease and Desist include a detailed description of the offending behavior and a clear demand that the behavior stop or else legal action will be taken. Further, Cease and Desist letters are often used in later court cases to show that the Defendant was put on notice about their offending behavior, so the more detailed the letter, the better.
Have you ever received a cease and desist letter from court? If yes, then this is an alarming situation that means you have done something wrong, or did something that was not supposed to be done. Whether it is necessary to do or not, you are now supposed to discontinue that act since it is prohibited. Cease and desist is basically given by the court or a government agency to make you refrain from illegal practices. Sometimes this letter is also issued by the government to discontinue unfair practices.
Potential Reasons to Write Cease and Desist Letter
One of the best official and formal ways to tell someone to stop doing something immediately is to use the cease and desist letter. When someone is trying to misuse your pictures without any copyrights or tries to rip off your trademark, you need not worry about it at all.
You do not have to take all of this forever. Just give them the legal warning and proceeding from the court directly. This can help regaining some peace. Let’s explore some legitimate reasons that can make you write a cease and desist order.
To Stop Invasion of Privacy, Stalking and Harassment
Harassment issues are really tricky to deal with. If you find a person harassing you or seeking for your attention in unacceptable ways, you have all the right to send a cease and desist letter to them.
Additionally, filing this letter would show them you are seriously offended by what they have done and they may be punished for it as well. Also, this will make them realize that harassing you would make them suffer the legal costs and fees. Sending this letter will give them a hint that they can be punished and taken to court.
To Stop Copyright and Trademark Infringements
Often some bogus companies try to cheat and infringe trademark and copyrights of genuine companies. This is illegal and is subjected to strict punishment. If someone is infringing your trademark or copyright, you can use a cease and desist letter against them. This can be a sign of warning to them that they can be legally punished for what they are doing. Also, this does not only determine that you have future or present rights to pursue legal actions because of infringement, letter also declares that you can also sue for the damages you have faced.
Be it any professional, whether you are a writer or a business owner, you have all the right for consent if your content is being used or your copyrights are required. Cease and desist order is a great step to help you in getting what is yours. Sending even a succinct cease and desist letter to the other party can literally haunt them.
A cease and desist letter here is very useful, because the actual case may take a long time, and your profits may be hurt during this time. For example, if a company finds out that another company is making videos using characters it has the right to, it can sue the company but the process will take months, during which several videos main be released. A cease and desist letter can be sent quickly, and it effectively says “Stop doing this right now” with an implied legal threat, so the offending company can stop immediately.
To Stop Breach of Contract
Often some parties try to interfere in your contracts. This is where you may require a cease and desist letter. For example, you may have a contract to build something in an area. The company you were in a contract with starts building something else. You can send a cease and desist letter if you want them to stop quickly.
To Stop Slander or Libel
Slander or libel are forms of defamation. This means that some other party’s words end up harming your personal reputation or your lifestyle. Basically, slander is the defamation that is verbal by the defendant and libel is the written or published defamatory statement made by someone against you. This can happen among business owners, employees, local people, and everyone.
The right way to deal with this is to use a cease and desist letter and ask them to stop. It could also be a false statement written about you. You need to explain the defamation and provide logic that is causing damage to you. Anything that causes damages to you emotionally, monetary, and humiliates you in anyway, can be the reason to write cease and desist letter.