The USPTO defines a cease and desist letter as a “correspondence that states or suggests that you are potentially infringing the trademark of another and demands that you stop using, or consider stopping use of, the accused mark. The Marks Gray intellectual property team assists clients with the drafting and delivery of cease-and-desist letters to both individuals and companies who have infringed on intellectual property including copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Our IP team also helps clients respond to received cease and desist letters accusing them of infringement. 

Have you received a cease-and-desist letter? Consult this checklist of nine steps you should take to protect your business and personal assets: 

  • In spite of any inconvenience or how you may feel, do not ignore the cease-and-desist letter. 
  • Do not throw the cease-and-desist letter away.
  • Read the letter thoroughly. Make sure you understand what laws you are allegedly violating. 
  • If you do not understand the letter, consult with a lawyer who specialized in trademark and copyright law. They can explain the content of the letter, consult with a lawyer who specializes in trademark and copyright law. They can explain the content of the letter and advise you on the best strategy.
  • Respond, in writing, to the person who sent you the letter within the time frame set forth, usually 30 days. You can respond on your own or through counsel. 
  • If you are operating a business that is selling counterfeit goods (based on the allegations in the cease-and-desist letter), remove the alleged counterfeit goods from the website or store front. Keep them out of circulation until you can resolve the conflict with the other party.
  • If you are operating a website that includes photos taken by another person, and you do not have permission to use those photos or failed to pay a licensing fee, remove the photos immediately. 
  • If you try to resolve the allegations in the letter on your own, make sure you understand any settlement agreement and release that you sign. You do not want to give up valuable rights for your business.
  • If you do not understand the agreement the other party sends to you, it is wise to seek help from an IP attorney.

Check out our other cease-and-desist letter resources: