As a business owner, executive or manager, you have a considerable amount of time, effort and mental energy invested in your organization. While you understand that competition is important in free markets, you do not want someone else profiting from your intellectual property or ruining your business. A well-written cease and desist letter is often the first step in protecting your ownership and safeguarding your company from damage.
You likely realize that filing a formal complaint to protect intellectual property can be both time-consuming and expensive. Often, sending a cease and desist letter is sufficient both to advise a user of your company’s ownership rights and to stop the usage. Here are four times a cease and desist letter serves an important purpose:
- Trademark infringement
For a trademark infringement claim to succeed, you must demonstrate that another person or entity is using the same mark or a substantially similar one for the same or similar goods or services. You must also prove that consumer confusion is likely to occur. Address these elements in your cease and desist letter. Doing so puts a user on notice for trademark infringement.
- Copyright infringement
Your company likely has a significant amount of work product. If a user copies this work without your permission, you probably have a case for copyright infringement. Identifying the source of the infringement in a cease and desist letter is usually sufficient to notify a user of your objections.
- Patent infringement
As with trademarks and copyrights, patents protect intellectual property related to the design of products, equipment or processes. If you have a registered patent, sending a cease and desist letter is often a precursor to filing an official action.
- Unauthorized disclosures
Your organization may require employees to sign nondisclosure agreements. Alternatively, you may have confidential information that you do not want anyone in your organization to share. Either way, notifying an individual of such a violation with a cease and desist letter can be valuable. Of course, you may have to take additional steps if your organization has already sustained damage from the disclosure.
Cease and desist letters are often invaluable for protecting your organization’s intellectual property and overall wellbeing. By understanding when to send these letters, you can better plan for retaining ownership of what rightfully belongs to your company.