4 Ways to Respond to a Cease + Desist Letter

 
 
4 Ways to Respond to a Cease + Desist Letter
 
 
 

Have you received a cease + desist letter?

It's a letter or email demanding that you stop using your company name or logo. It's often a very stressful and surprising time.

Today, we're breaking down what to do about it.

 

What is a cease and desist letter?

A cease and desist is a letter or email from another company that states you are infringing on their trademark. The company demands that you stop using the name in question immediately or they will take legal action against you. If you don't own your brand with a trademark, these letters are likely to show up anytime. And when they arrive, it's a very scary situation.

So how do you respond?

 

1. Figure out if the letter is legit

Some cease + desist letters aren't legit. They're sent by companies who own a trademark that likely wouldn't be confused with your name, but they're trying to intimidate you into changing your name or paying usage fees anyway.

Many cease + desist letters are legit. They're sent by companies who own a trademark that may actually be confusingly similar to your name.

You'll want to check with an attorney to see if the letter is legitimate or not.

 

2. If the letter isn't legit

You can write the company back. You can deny that your company is infringing on their trademark or ask for more information on their mark before you make a determination.

Remember, always check with an attorney first!

 

3. If the letter is legit

If the cease + desist letter is real, you need to take it seriously and consult with an attorney to find the best option for you. If you continue using the name after you receive a legit cease + desist letter, you could be sued and pay monetary damages. There are several different options:

You can change your name. This is the easiest way to end the disagreement, but you will lose your brand value and have to undergo a rebrand.

You can write the company back. You can deny that your company is infringing on their trademark or ask for more information on their mark before you make a determination.

You can negotiate with the company. In exchange for a fee, you can create an agreement to use your name on mutual terms or create an agreement that your name does not infringe on their trademark.

You can file a lawsuit. You can sue the company for a declaratory judgment that your name does not infringing on their trademark.

 

4. Pick a strategy

Which strategy should you choose?

It depends on your company's goals, current finances, and how likely it is that you're infringing on the other company's name. 

If you've received a trademark cease + desist letter, I definitely recommend scheduling a consultation with a trademark attorney.  That's because the strategies all have different legal consequences and there may be some options that are not recommended for your current situation. A trademark attorney can help you find the best solution for your needs.

     
     

     

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