Cease and Desist

Where someone thinks their intellectual property rights are being infringed they usually ask the other party to ‘cease and desist’ from infringement. Cease and desist letters are most commonly used as a prelude to passing off and trademark infringement actions.

Sending a ‘cease and desist’ letter

‘Cease and desist’ letters are often the starting point for alerting an infringing party to the potential consequences of their actions. If the infringer does not stop their infringing actions after receiving a cease and desist letter, then the next step might be to initiate litigation. Read more »

The courts would expect the IP owner to have followed a reasonable and proportionate procedure, and given the alleged infringer the opportunity to remedy their actions, before taking legal action. Failure to do so will result in costs sanctions.

Threats

It is best not to send a cease and desist letter threatening to sue unless you have the resources to do so and are really serious. Otherwise, the cease and desist letter should reserve your position rather than end with a threat to sue, which turns out to be an empty one. Read more »

In certain situations sending a cease and desist letter can be fraught with danger. If a letter amounts to an “unjustified threat”, the sender may expose themselves to a likelihood of being sued and having to pay compensation to the recipient of the letter. This is a danger that arises with patents, trademarks and designs, but not copyright. To avoid such a possibility it is essential to obtain legal advice before sending any threatening letters.

Azrights have significant experience in both drafting ‘cease and desist’ letters and dealing with responses. We can also provide advice and assistance to help IP owners whose rights are routinely infringed, to put in place some standard templates to address the typical infringement situations that arise for them. It is then cost effective when an infringement situation comes to light, for us to take stock of the details and send out a cease and desist letter to put a stop to the damage being caused to by the infringers.

Receiving a ‘cease and desist’ letter

If you receive a ‘cease and desist’ letter, it may contain an offer to drop infringement proceedings if you return a signed undertaking. This undertaking (which is contractual in nature) will usually have been drafted heavily in favour of the sender, and may contain onerous or unreasonable demands. To protect your interests, and those of your business, it is essential that legal advice is obtained on a ‘cease and desist’ letter before returning any signed undertakings. Read more »

We are experienced in such matters and  will also be able to negotiate a more satisfactory resolution of the matter on your behalf than you would be able to achieve on your own.  So, it is always worth taking advice whether you are on the receiving end of a cease and desist letter or wish to send one out.

What next?

For further help call us on +44 (0) 20 7700 1414.