Because technology is advancing so quickly, intellectual property faces more risks than it has in the past. More business owners find that other parties are using their trademarks to purposefully fool consumers into purchasing their products.
Of course, business owners have the rights to their trademarks, and therefore the right to take legal action against infringement. Generally, the first step to stop an infringer from usurping your trademark is to send a cease and desist letter. This is a legal notification that warns the other party they are violating the law, and that the business owner will take legal action if they continue to do so.
These letters may sound simple, but they should include certain details to be effective. Here is a brief overview of some of the essential details that a cease and desist letter should include.
- Business owners should cite their rights
First, business owners must establish that the trademark is theirs by right. This often involves providing:
- The trademark registration;
- Proof of ownership; and
- Evidence of the infringement.
It might be helpful to cite the federal trademark laws and California statutes that protect those rights as well.
- Describe the infringement violating those rights
This might seem tedious since the other party might already be aware of the infringement. However, business owners must make it clear that they are aware of exactly how the other party has violated their rights. So, business owners should list all of the specific usages and infringements on their trademark.
- Give a specific deadline
The letter should provide specific instructions, including:
- What actions the infringing party must cease doing;
- The date they must desist by; and
- The consequences of not meeting that deadline.
As most business owners know, it is critical to be precise and specific when listing these instructions. Otherwise, the infringing party might find a loophole that could increase the risk to the business owner’s company.
It is often beneficial to consult an attorney when writing a cease and desist letter to ensure that it meets the criteria and works effectively to protect the business.