Legal Docs

What are the Grounds for a Cease and Desist Letter? (With Templates)

September 26, 2022 by Madison Ferguson in Legal Docs  
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Cease and Desist Notices

A “cease and desist” notice is a written request for someone to stop doing something illegal or thought to be illegal right away. It could be a court order, an injunction from a government agency, or a letter from a lawyer.

An injunction or order to stop doing something has the force of law, while a “cease and desist” letter is not legally binding, but it is a formal step that could lead to a lawsuit if the recipient doesn’t stop what they are doing.

Cease and desist letters are usually sent to people who are doing something that is potentially harmful to you or your business, infringing on your intellectual property rights, such as copyright or trademark, or to people who are harassing you or threatening you in some way. It can also be used to stop someone from using your name or likeness in an unauthorized way.

The purpose of the letter is to make the recipient aware that you are ready to take legal action against them and to inform them that they must stop the activity in question or face legal consequences.

If the recipient does not comply with the cease and desist letter, you may be able to take further legal action, such as filing a lawsuit.

Quick Jump:

When is a “Cease and Desist” Notice the Best Choice?

If someone or a business is bothering a person or group or hurting their business somehow, they should at least keep a letter in their back pocket. Some of the most common reasons why someone might take this action are the violation of an intellectual property right, the collection of a debt, the spreading of lies, slander, or libel, or the harassment of the person.

Infringement: When someone or a company owns the intellectual property, like a copyright or a patent, they have certain rights. Copyright or patents are broken when they are used without permission. This is called “infringement,” It can be stopped by sending a letter explaining the action that prompted the letter.

Debt Collection: If a debt collection service keeps calling or emailing someone repeatedly, a cease-and-desist notice is a simple and effective way to tell them to stop. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a federal law that says how debt collectors must act, says that if a collector gets a letter asking them to stop contacting someone, they must, or they could be fined.

Slander and libel: People can be the target of rumors and slanderous comments on social media, which can seem like the norm today. But stop-and-desist slander letters can be sent to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. A “cease and desist” letter about slander can force the person to take back what they have said or written, or they could be sued. Slander and libel can hurt a person’s or business’s reputation and even lead to extreme actions like violence.

If the following happens to you, you may want to consider issuing a cease-and-desist letter or order. Those situations are as follows:

A classic example of a recent cease and desist notice would be Dr. Dre’s letter to Marjorie Taylor Greene regarding illegal usage of his music:

What to Include in The Cease and Desist Letter

When writing a cease and desist letter, it is important to make sure that it includes all of the necessary information. The letter should include a clear description of the activity that needs to be stopped, the legal basis for your claim, and the consequences if the recipient does not comply.

The letter should also include your contact information, such as your name, address, and phone number, as well as the contact information of the recipient. It is also important to include a clear deadline for when the recipient must stop the activity.

It is important to make sure that the letter is clear and concise. The recipient should have no doubt about what they are being asked to do and why. You should also avoid using any technical legal jargon or language that the recipient may not understand. It is advised to have a well-known attorney send the letter too, this way the recipient knows you mean business.


Downloadable Cease & Desist Templates:

  • Defamation Cease and Desist Letter: DOCX | PDF
  • Stalking/Harassment Cease and Desist Letter: DOCX | PDF
  • Intellectual Property Theft Cease and Desist Letter: DOCX | PDF

You are welcome to download and edit any of the above letters, however we do urge you to send a stronger, customized letter from a reputable attorney if you want their actions to stop immediately.

Need a Custom Cease and Desist Letter? CALL NOW: 310-274-6529

What Makes a Cease-and-Desist Letter Different from A Cease-and-Desist Order?

A cease-and-desist order differs from a letter, often called an injunction or restraining order. An order is a formal, legally enforceable document issued by a government agency or a court, as opposed to one submitted by a person or attorney. If a person is given the order to cease doing something, and that person disregards the order, that person may be held in contempt of court and subject to sanctions, including fines or even prison time. You must go through the legal process, including a lawsuit, to get a judge to issue a halt and desist order. Filing requirements and legalese may vary by case and jurisdiction. The opposing party will be allowed to react to the documentation once submitted, and the court will decide based on the evidence.

While the primary forms make it possible for anybody to issue a cease-and-desist letter, civil claims law is often convoluted. The opposing side may file an appeal regardless of whether the court rules in your favor. If you hire a lawyer to draft and deliver the cease-and-desist letter on your behalf, however, they will be able to:

  • Give your opinion on whether your rights have been infringed and how you may chase legal action if this is the case.
  • Provide you with advice on whether sending a cease-and-desist letter is the best way to handle the situation.
  • Help you out by writing and sending the letter for you while keeping meticulous records.

In many instances, the receiver will take you more seriously if they see that an attorney sent the letter on their behalf. This may in and of itself induce a speedier response and stop illicit activities.

How to Send a Cease and Desist Letter

Once you have crafted your cease and desist letter, it is important to make sure that it is sent in a timely manner. The letter should be sent via certified mail with a return receipt requested. This way, you will have proof that the letter was received by the recipient.

It is also important to keep a copy of the letter for your records. This will help you if you need to take further legal action. It would help if you also keep any correspondence with the recipient and any documents that they send you in response.

What to Do After You Send a Cease and Desist Letter

Once you have sent your cease and desist letter, it is important to keep track of the recipient’s response. If they do not comply with the letter, you may need to take further legal action. It would help if you also keep any correspondence with the recipient and any documents that they send you in response.

If you do not receive a response, you may need to take the matter to court. This is a more serious step, and you should seek legal advice before proceeding. You may also want to consider alternative dispute resolution options, such as mediation or arbitration.

What to Do if You Receive a Cease and Desist Letter

If you receive a cease and desist letter, it is essential to take it seriously. You should seek legal advice from a qualified lawyer to understand your rights and obligations. You should also make sure to respond to the letter in a timely manner.

If you believe that the allegations in the letter are unfounded or incorrect, you should explain this in your response. You should also provide any evidence that you have to support your position. This will help you if the matter goes to court.

Cease and Desist Steps
 (Click to Enlarge)

Need to Consult an Attorney?

You have the freedom to seek counsel at any time for a “Cease and Desist” notice, or if you need to send someone a “Cease and Desist” notice. You may also want to contact your attorney if you’ve received a cease and desist, and need to know its legitimacy and what you need to do. A qualified group of experienced Los Angeles Attorneys will represent you best in either case.

Need an Attorney? CALL NOW: 310-274-6529

Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Attorney who has over 21 years of practice defending a variety of cases.

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December 3, 2019
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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