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How cease and desist tools can keep you out of court

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Business Litigation |

Most small and medium size business owners don’t want to go to court to protect their interests if they don’t have to. That’s one reason why they’re too often the victims of intellectual property (IP) violations, defamation and libel, contract violations, creditor harassment and more.

Often a cease and desist letter can put an end to these problems. At least it can put the party that is violating the law on notice. A cease and desist letter can also begin to build a paper trail that will help if future legal action is warranted because it puts the other party on notice that their actions are illegal.

What is in a cease and desist letter?

This letter is used to inform a party that its actions are illegal and if it doesn’t “cease and desist” them, you will take legal action. You’ll also want to let them know if and how the actions are harmful to your business. That’s particularly true for IP violations and libel and defamation cases.

Note that this letter isn’t actually a legal notice. However, by having a legal professional write and sign the letter, it will carry a lot more weight than if you do it yourself. This can also help to ensure that it is as effective as possible and meets the qualifications for appropriate notice, like giving a date by which the other party must respond.

How is a cease and desist order different?

If the letter doesn’t get the other party to stop, you can use seek a cease and desist order. This order has to be issued by a court or government agency, depending on the nature of the violation. That means you’ll need to provide evidence, including the cease and desist letter and response (if any) to show that this order is necessary because they didn’t comply with the letter.

A cease and desist order places either a temporary or permanent injunction on the party to prohibit it from continuing its illegal activity. If this still doesn’t produce results, it may be necessary to take that party to court. However, that scenario is less likely if you have experienced legal guidance as you take these other steps first.