How to Respond a Cease and Desist Letter

Receiving a cease and desist letter may seem terrifying, but the most important thing to remember is: don’t panic.

While you should take a cease and desist letter seriously, it doesn’t hold any real legal power, just yet.

A cease and desist letter is usually the first step in opening a lawsuit against you or your business. But in most cases, the issue can be settled before even stepping foot inside a courtroom.

To learn more about how to respond to a cease and desist letter and what it means, this blog outlines it all.

A Cease and Desist Letter Explained

Upon receiving a cease and desist letter, one of the most important things to remember is that is doesn’t signify a lawsuit- just yet.

Basically, it’s a written warning regarding some form of illegal behavior that your or your business must stop doing.

If this illegal behavior continues after the receipt of a cease and desist letter, further penalties and legal action will be brought against you.

Some of the most common forms of illegal behavior that warrant a cease and desist letter include:

  • The breach of a company trademark or copyright
  • Character assassination i.e. slander, libel or defamation
  • Harassment i.e. from debt collectors
  • Plagiarizing a person or company’s work
  • Violation of a non-competition agreement

It’s worth noting that a cease and desist letter is also known as a cease and desist Notice, demand Letter or stop harassment Letter.

The Legal Weight of a Cease and Desist Letter

A cease and desist letter carries no practical legal weight. In other words, it cannot legally force you to do anything.

But choosing to ignore a cease and desist letter is never recommended. Essentially, it fulfills a key function in the legal process of establishing a lawsuit against you or your business.

If you do choose to ignore this letter and face a court of law, you will have no argument that you did not understand the violation.

This means that you knowingly chose to continue with an illegal act of behavior, which does not look good in a court of law.

How To Respond to a Cease and Desist Letter

Once you receive a cease and desist letter, you have a few options to consider. Some of these may include:

  1. Agreeing to the letter’s stipulations – ceasing any illegal behavior as outlined in the letter
  2. It’s within your rights to respond with a refusal or request for more detailed information
  3. It’s also within your rights to file for a summary judgment by the court
  4. You can choose to ignore the letter – although this is not recommended

With the above in mind, there are some important pointers to follow once you have opened and read a cease and desist letter.

Try not to talk about the letter and its contents to anyone else except your attorney.

Most especially, do not share any of it online. Everything posted online in today’s day and age is admissible in court.

Make sure to keep all evidence that could support your argument in order to disprove illegal behavior. This includes copies of the cease and desist letter.

Take into consideration the consequences of complying with the letter or not. Most often, compliance is the better option than an expensive court battle.

Once you have spoken with your attorney, will need to draft a response letter. Make sure this is written by your attorney to avoid implicating yourself any further by saying the wrong thing.

A letter that is written by your attorney is considered part of settlement negotiations and cannot be used as evidence in court.

Your attorney will help you draft an acceptable settlement, help you stay out of court and protect you as much as possible.

Looking for Expert Litigation?

Specializing in commercial litigation and business-related cases, Manfred Law is your go-to for advice on how to respond to a cease and desist letter.

If you’re looking for expert litigation, get in touch with us at Manfred Law.

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