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The Yau Law Firm
Focused on Protecting Businesses and Representing the Injured

What to do if you received a Cease & Desist Letter

Cease and desist letters are particularly handy for those wanting to enforce trademarks, copyrights, patents, licenses, and really, any other right. At the Yau Law Firm, we have dealt with cease and desist letters on both ends of the spectrum: we have issued cease and desist letters on behalf of our clients, and we have also defended against and negotiated with them. Receiving one can be quite scary–especially if you don’t know what your rights are. Do know that receiving a cease and desist letter can be very serious. It is most often necessary for an experienced attorney to look at it with you. For those who aren’t sure what to do, allow us to take a few moments to discuss common options.

First, it is important to know that a cease & desist letter is not a lawsuit. Rather, it is a warning that you are trespassing on someone else’s rights, and that you ought to stop. The fact that you have received a letter rather than a lawsuit is a good thing. Oftentimes, the sender is trying to avoid costly litigation, and both parties can actually settle with mutually agreeable solutions.

Ignoring the cease & desist letter is always an option. But, without knowing what your rights are, and whether the sender has any rights to enforce, this is a bad idea. In many cases, particularly with intellectual property, cease & desist letters act as notices, which if ignored, will subject the recipient to treble (triple) damages. (And this is on top of attorney’s fees and costs). Some cease & desist letters seem really nasty, while others are polite and to-the-point. But, however it is written, ignoring one is not the solution.

Some people choose to respond to cease & desist letters with apologies and a promise to “never do it again.” Although it is certainly favorable in the eyes of the sender to receive heartfelt apologies (and our society have taught us that apologies are a polite thing to make), your apology, for the most part, can become an admission of fault. In Court, an admission–especially if it is memorialized into a writing–can be used against you. For many businesses and people, a simple apology might not do the trick, particularly if the business has lost money because of you. To avoid this, we at the Yau Law Firm help our clients with Release Agreements as well. To protect our clients, we ensure that they can come to an agreement with the other party, and that the other party does not hold the client accountable for past and current infringements.

To find out how we can help protect you from potential litigation, contact us today!


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