June 05, 2023

I Received a Cease-and-Desist Letter – What Should I Do Next?

a man opens a letter with cease and desistLegal letters rarely contain good news, but one of the more dreaded, for both individuals as well as businesses, is the cease and desist letter. What is a cease and desist letter? 

Simply put, it is a warning meant to inform a business or individual to cease performing a specified action or producing a specific product immediately, as it infringes on the letter writer’s rights in some way. While not a legal document in itself, legal action is often a threatened reprisal if the specified action is not stopped. 

It is natural to feel overwhelmed, as nobody likes to be threatened with legal action, but you have options available to you. If you have received a Texas cease and desist letter, here are the most important steps on what to do next and how Villeda Law Group can help you.

How To Respond to A Cease and Desist Letter

First and foremost: do not panic! Panicking has never solved any legal dispute, least of all cease and desist cases. Remember, the letter in itself is not a court order. It is merely a means of informing you that you have infringed on the sender in some way and that they want you to stop. The impetus is on them from there to escalate further if they so choose.

The next step is to ascertain exactly what you have allegedly infringed upon. A cease and desist letter can be sent concerning a lot of things, including:

  1. Infringing on or permitting others to infringe upon a trademark or copyright that is not yours
  2. Violating a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement
  3. Misappropriating important trade secrets
  4. Committing defamation, slander, or libel
  5. Violating the terms of a contract that you signed

Which of the above is the reason you have received a cease and desist letter will be laid out clearly and unmistakably in the letter itself. The most common reason, due to how ill-defined fair use and its application is in regard to content online, is infringing on a company or individual’s copyright. So, if you have received a Texas cease and desist letter, what is next?

The first option is technically the simplest: complete acquiescence to the demands. In taking this route, you would draft a response to the letter, preferably with an attorney present to help you draft it in a way that does not open you up to further demands, and send it to the return address on the original letter, promising to comply. 

You should also include a time frame of how long you expect it to take to fulfill the demands. This will, most of the time, get the sender to leave you alone. But if the reason the letter was sent is something that is important to your income, complying with demands can put you at long-term financial risk.

Some would consider ignoring it entirely. Again, these letters cannot be enforced. And if you think they do not have a leg to stand on, it is entirely possible to just forget the whole business. 

When considering this option, it is imperative that you consult a lawyer first and have them go over it with you. If you both agree that the sender does not have a case, then ignoring it is a viable option. You may still want to respond anyway if only to lay out exactly why you feel comfortable not complying with the demands.

Then there is the final option: negotiation. If you do not want to comply completely with the demands but do not wish to risk the ire of an entire company, you and your legal team can sit down with the sender, to hopefully come to a conclusion that satisfies everyone.

Know What To Do With a Lawyer McAllen On Your Side

If you are looking for attorneys in TX McAllen for help in figuring out how to respond to a cease and desist letter you have received, consider Villeda Law Group. Our legal team will go over the letter with you and advise you on how you should respond. So if you have received a cease and desist letter and need a lawyer in McAllen to help you figure out what to do next, we will take care of you and your business. Call us now to learn more about how we can help.