As a business owner or creator, the thought of receiving a cease and desist letter might sound earth-shattering. While the name and connotation of such a letter might cause anxiety and confusion, these documents are actually remarkably common in the realm of intellectual property matters.
If you are engaging with trademarked, copyrighted, or patented material on a regular basis by the nature of your work, it is quite possible you will receive a cease and desist letter at some point in your career. In this event, it is important to maintain composure and act prudently. From the IP lawyers at Patterson Thuente IP, here are the four steps you should take if you ever receive a cease and desist letter.
Pause and Relax
The absolute worst course of action you can take after receiving this type of letter is to panic and immediately respond. As with all legal matters, taking your time and acting carefully and thoughtfully can save you considerable trouble later on. Upon receiving the letter, take a deep breath and gather your thoughts before taking any additional action.
Know the Nature of Cease and Desist Letters
While cease and desist letters can sound threatening and contain official language authored by an attorney, they are not technically legal documents. You are not legally obligated to respond, and they do not signify that a lawsuit has been filed against you. Rather, a cease and desist letter is normally sent if the sending party believes you are illegally using their intellectual property without proper permission or authority. Thus, the letter is a warning of potential legal action that may follow, not a notification of an existing case. Once again, do not allow the potentially inflammatory language of the letter to cause you to respond in haste.
Document the Details
Next, gather as much information as you can, documenting it in digital format when possible. Scan and copy both the letter itself and the envelope in which it was sent. Document the name of the sender, the firm that may be representing the sender, and any dates listed in the letter. Finally, write down your relationship with the sender in plain words, highlighting any past interactions you have had or the nature of your previous working relationship, if any. Do they work for a company you had previously conducted business with? Are they an inventor or creator that you have never encountered? Spell out to the best of your ability how your paths have crossed.
Contact an IP Lawyer
A cease and desist can be the first step in the development of a legal case. This should not be navigated alone. Contact a qualified intellectual property lawyer to handle the response to the letter and ensure you are protected. An IP attorney should be able to help determine if the claims in the letter are founded as well as advise your next steps.
Work with Patterson Thuente
Connect with experienced IP lawyers today to learn about protecting your intellectual property, as well as gain industry insights and professional recommendations. The attorneys at Patterson Thuente IP are here to help you navigate the sphere of intellectual property law to make sure your rights are protected and any accusations are addressed properly and efficiently. Our team of experienced attorneys stands ready to help you with your unique situation. Contact us today: https://www.ptslaw.com/contact/.