What Cease and Desist Letters Do in Trademark Infringement

A cease and desist letter is sent out to a party that is possibly infringing a trademark from another party. Initially, it suggests the party ceases, or stops, the use of that trademark. The letters are sent from the law firm of the accuser of infringement. Sometimes these letters will even ask for monetary damages for their own loss. Receiving a cease and desist letter doesn’t necessarily mean that party is being sued. For it to be an official lawsuit, the accuser has to send out a complaint and summons to the accused party. But there are many options as to what can be done after receiving a cease and desist letter.

A party can simply respond to a letter. If a party has the foundation to deny infringement, they can respond simply stating so. The party can also ask on what grounds they are “committing trademark infringement,” and ask for evidence proving the claim.

The recipient of the letter can also do nothing. There might be more letters that will be sent out. At times, these letters are just used as a form of intimidation in hopes that the accused party gives up the rights to that trademark out of fear. The trademark might not even be infringement, but the letter just serves to scare the party into thinking that it is. However, not responding can turn into an issue later in court if a party is actually guilty of infringement.

Negotiations can also be made between both parties. Mostly, negotiations end in mutually understood terms of the use of the trademark. But when negotiations aren’t enough, a lawsuit can be filed by either party. The accused party can fight the claim of infringement.

The smartest thing to do when a party receives a cease and desist letter is to have it analyzed by its own attorney. This can help prepare for the next steps that need to be taken whether it involves a negotiation or the beginning of a lawsuit. If a party detects that someone is infringing on its trademark or other IP, it may be a smart thing to forward a cease and desist letter to the suspected infringer rather than filing a lawsuit without further investigation. Again, it is a part of legal strategy and it should be carefully analyzed with the assistance of a legal counsel before any action is taken.

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