• Cease & Desist Letter
  • May 6, 2003
  • Law Firm: Cooper & Smith - New Providence Office
  • A business name is a valuable asset. Sometimes a business competitor will wrongfully use the business name of another in an attempt to gain more clients.Or the use of the same name by a competitor may cause confusion in the consumer market.

    So how can you stop a competing business from using your business name? A "cease-and-desist" letter may be the first step in stopping this conduct.

    Their Function
    The function of a cease-and-desist letter is primarily to stop a party from further engaging in a particular kind of conduct, such as trademark infringement, while at the same time to inform that party of the legal consequences related to the conduct.

    Serious Stuff
    Cease-and-desist letters should not be taken lightly, and must be researched and drafted very carefully. They generally discuss:

    • The conduct of the party causing the harm
    • The applicable law
    • The damage being caused by the conduct
    • Demand that the party cease the conduct by a certain date
    • Threaten that a lawsuit will be filed

    By threatening a lawsuit, you must be ready, willing, and able to proceed against the other party through trial. Otherwise the cease-and-desist letter will be considered baseless, and any other communication may not be taken seriously.

    Who Gets Copies?
    If the facts and law are in your favor, there may be no harm in notifying the opposing party's clients or customers of the damaging conduct. But if your claims are weak, this may cause more problems, and the other party may also claim intentional interference of business relations.

    A First Step
    A cease-and-desist letter may be the first step in resolving a genuine dispute. If the issues can be resolved without a lawsuit, the cease-and-desist letter has served its purpose. However, if the party has a legal right to engage in such conduct, the cease-and-desist letter will have no strength. The issues must be fully explored and applicable law thoroughly researched before sending a cease-and-desist letter.

    sending a cease-and-desist letter.