Cease and Desist Letters and What to Do About Them

A cease and desist letter can be sent to you for a variety of reasons when you are using your website, especially if your business is becoming lucrative. The main reason for the letter is that you have infringed, accidentally or on purpose, on the rights of another. The letter is basically asking you to stop doing that. Here are some steps to take to deal with one of these cease and desist letters.

Understanding Why You Received It

This reason could be because you have used a similar name to a registered trademark or because you have used another person’s patent, design, copyright and more. Sometimes the letter is making a valid point and other times it is sent from a company who is making a business out of taking advantage of recent IP purchases in order to make money by getting royalties or access to technologies.

It is good to be aware of the fact that the reasoning for receiving the letter is not always an honest one on the part of the sender.

What to Do With the Letter

First of all, take it seriously. Assume the best of the intentions of the sender rather than that they are just trying to mess with you. Do not, by any means, stick the letter into a pile of neglected mail and try to forget about it.

Once you are taking it seriously, consider the ramifications on your business. Can you just listen to it and get rid of the copyrighted images? Would that destroy your whole business?

Before you make your response to the person sending the cease and desist letter, contact a Patent Attorney or any attorney specializing in these matters who can look at the claims they are making. Have the attorney write something down in case the matter ends up in court.

What Can I Do if They Are Right?

If the attorney tells you that you have indeed infringed on the territory of another, then there are several things you can do, depending on the nature of the infringement. It may be possible to change your website to avoid using the things that were protected. If this is impossible, you may be all done. If it is not possible, you may be able to enter into some sort of agreement with the sender and become business partners in some way. You may also be able to take out certain licenses to protect yourself. The attorney should be able to help you with these options since they depend so heavily on the exact nature of the letter.

No one wants to receive a cease and desist letter due to their domain name, but it happens, sometimes when we least expect it. The good news is that there are many things you can do that could cost very little, if anything. The most important thing is to not ignore the letter and take the steps outlined above to deal with the problem and find the best solution for everyone.

No one wants to receive a cease and desist letter due to their domain name, but it happens, sometimes when we least expect it. The good news is that there are many things you can do that could cost very little, if anything. The most important thing is to not ignore the letter and take the steps outlined above to deal with the problem and find the best solution for everyone.

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Adam Dicker – CEO – Dnforum.com