How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter
That store stole your corporate logo. Your neighbor keeps trimming a hedge in your yard. Whatever it is, you want it to stop, and you're going to write a letter to make it stop.
But unless you're Jack Daniel's, chances are you don't know how to write a great cease-and-desist letter. Thankfully we're here to help out with a few pointers:
Don't Hit "Send"
OK, telling you not to send a cease-and-desist letter might not be the most helpful advice if you've already made up your mind, but maybe give it a second thought. It's possible the conflict could be solved with a simple conversation. And in some cases, trying to end certain behavior may garner additional and unwanted attention to it.
Plus, sending a threatening letter could put everyone involved in a more adversarial mindset that only exacerbates the conflict, whereas a more collaborative approach could get the problem solved more quickly.
Do Be Nice
Or at least be professional. We all know the old adage about catching more flies with honey than vinegar, but bullying and threatening tactics in a cease-and-desist letter are rarely effective.
So try a softer approach at first, or maybe include a little humor. The idea is to avoid escalation. Besides, if you don't get the response you're seeking (or any response at all) you can always ramp your actions up later.
Definitely Be Accurate
Don't bluff the law. And definitely don't bluff your legal credentials. If you've got a valid claim, let it speak for itself. You should be clear and concise about the infringing actions, your legal basis, and how you would like the situation to be remedied. That should be sufficient. You don't want to lie about the law, invent a law degree you don't have, or make litigation promises you can't keep. You can of course start the necessary research right here on FindLaw.
Sending the right cease-and-desist letter can really effect the direction of your claim or case, so most often it is something better left to the professionals. If you are unsure about your case, or it is a complex one, talk to an experienced attorney before sending a cease-and-desist letter on your own.
- Find a Lawyer (FindLaw Directory)
- Legal How-To: Deciphering a Cease-and-Desist Letter (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Ignoring a Cease-and-Desist Letter: What Can Happen? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Legal How-To: Responding to a Lawsuit (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)