A Cease and Desist Letter is a letter sent to an individual or business that is engaging in unwelcome or illegal behaviour. The Cease and Desist acts as a formal request that the recipient stop ("cease") and not continue ("desist") this behaviour. If the recipient of the letter fails to comply with these demands, the sender should be prepared to take further legal action to stop the behaviour that is harming or interfering with the sender's rights and abilities to conduct business.
This Cease and Desist letter should be used in cases of trademark infringement. A trademark is a way of identifying a unique product or service - such as a 'brand', a logo, letter, number, phrase, word, sound, smell, shape, picture, movement, type of packaging, or some combination of these.
Another common form of intellectual property infringement is copyright infringement. Copyrights relate to creative works, such as pieces of writing, music or art work. This Cease and Desist letter can also be used in cases of copyright infringement. Copyright law provides protection to work with a 'creative' element, such as literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works.
A cease and desist letter may be an effective way to amicably settle and enforce their rights by owners of copyrights and trademarks before initiating legal action.
For other matters, use our General Cease and Desist Letter.
How to use this document
A Cease and Desist letter includes the following basic elements:
Once the letter has been completed, it should be sent by registered post to the individual or business that has been conducting the offensive behaviour.
There are no laws outlining what must be included in a Cease and Desist letter. However, best practices dictate that a Cease and Desist include a detailed description of the offending behaviour and a clear demand that the behaviour stop or else legal action will be taken.
If the matter ends up in court, a Cease and Desist letter can be used to show that the Defendant was put on notice about their offending behaviour, so the more detailed the letter, the better.
The Trade Marks Act 1999 may be relevant to this matter, in particular if the offending behaviour does not stop and further action becomes necessary. In addition, the Copyrights Act 1956, may be relevant in cases of copyright violation. In some cases, publishing of offensive illegal content on the internet may be a violation under the Information Technology Act, 2000.
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