Introduction to this document

Cease and desist letter

Rather than rushing straight off to court if someone either defames you and or decides to use your intellectual property, you’re expected to follow a reasonable and proportionate procedure by first writing to give them full details about your claim.  What you’re essentially doing is requesting them to stop a specified action and to refrain from doing so in the future, with the threat of legal action if they don’t.  This is where sending a suitably worded cease and desist letter can be effective, because it may stop someone in their tracks without the need for court action


What should the letter say?

If it’s a question of your business being defamed, set out full details of the offending article and specify why it’s wrong and how it affects and harms the reputation of your business. Set out clearly what you’re looking for, e.g. an apology, and put in a time limit for a satisfactory response. 

If the issue is about your intellectual property rights being infringed, give concise details about the rights that you own so that the third party can clearly understand why you’re upset. If necessary, enclose documents to prove ownership. Ask for a prompt acknowledgement, followed by a full written response within a reasonable period of time.

Say whether court proceedings may follow should you not receive a satisfactory response and also whether or not you’re going to refer the matter to your lawyers.


Word of caution

Particularly when it comes to making threats regarding trade marks, UK registered designs and patent infringements, be very careful because if your threat is deemed to be unjustified, then the party threatened will have a self-standing cause of action against you and could sue for damages.