ContractsCounsel Logo

Cease and Desist Letters: Everything You Need To Know

Updated: March 28, 2023
Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 9,865 reviews
No Upfront Payment Required, Pay Only If You Hire.
Home Blog Cease and Desist Letters: Everything You Need To Know

Jump to Section

What Is a Cease and Desist Letter?

A cease and desist letter requests that the recipient stop engaging in a specific action and avoid repeating it in the future. The letter may also warn of legal action that the sender plans to take if the recipient doesn't abide by the request.

Also known as a cease and desist notice, this type of letter can be sent to an individual or an organization. In most cases, these notices address legal infringements or copyright or other intellectual property (IP) issues.

See Cease and Desist Letter Pricing by State

Eight Reasons to Send a Cease and Desist Letter

Writing a cease and desist letter can help you exercise your legal rights in a wide range of situations. Consider sending a notice for any of these reasons:

  • Breach of contract: Inform another party that they have violated a valid agreement.
  • Copyright infringement: Demand that an individual or organization stop reproducing your copyrighted material without your permission.
  • Debt collection: Request that a creditor stop attempting to collect a past-due debt, especially over the phone.
  • Defamation or slander: Urge another party to stop making or publishing false statements about you or your organization.
  • Harassment: Entreat another party to cease inappropriate behaviors, such as sexual harassment or personal attacks.
  • IP infringement: Demand that another party stop using your IP without your permission.
  • Nondisclosure agreement (NDA) violation: Inform another party that they have failed to comply with a valid NDA.
  • Trademark or patent infringement: Give notice that another party must stop using a registered trademark or patent that they don't own.

Here is additional information about cease and desist letters.

When Should You Write a Cease and Desist Letter?

You can send a cease and desist letter immediately after obtaining documentation of the infringement or violation. In most cases, it's best to take action quickly so you can prevent the other party from continuing to infringe on your legal rights.

If the other party acknowledges your request and stops the action in question, then you don't have to do anything else to resolve the situation. However, if the other party ignores your request or refuses to stop, you may have to get legal help or pursue litigation.

How To Write a Cease and Desist Letter

There's no required template for a cease and desist letter, but most include some standard information. Use these recommendations to outline your cease and desist letter:

  1. Include all relevant contact information. List your legal name and contact information, including address, phone number, and email address, then list the recipient's legal name and contact information.
  2. Document the offending actions. For example, state the publication date related to the copyright infringement or the circumstances surrounding the NDA violation. You can also include account numbers if you're referring to a debt collection issue or incident dates if you're discussing a harassment issue.
  3. State your request for the other party to stop the action and avoid repeating it in the future.
  4. Inform the other party that you intend to take legal action if they refuse to stop or if they continue.
  5. Indicate the amount of time the other party has to comply. For example, you might give them 10 business days to comply or respond.

Here is an article about writing a cease and desist letter.

Get Free Bids to Compare

Leverage our network of lawyers, request free bids, and find the right lawyer for the job.

Get Bids Now

Who Can Send a Cease and Desist Notice?

Anyone has the power to send a cease and desist letter. If another party has violated your legal rights, you can issue a notice personally or on behalf of your organization.

Legally, you don't have to hire an attorney to send a cease and desist letter for you. However, working with an attorney may improve the outcome of your situation. A lawyer can help by:

  • Evaluating your claim and advising whether the other party has violated your rights
  • Writing and sending the letter on your behalf to add more credibility to your request
  • Advising you about legal actions you may be able to pursue due to continued violations

How Do You Send a Cease and Desist Letter?

You can send a cease and desist letter by email for convenience. However, most legal experts recommend sending a physical copy of the letter by mail. Opt for certified mail so you have a record of when you sent the letter and a receipt of when the other party received it.

If the other party resides in your local area, you may be able to use a process server to deliver the letter instead. Courts license process servers to deliver legal documents in person.

Can You Enforce a Cease and Desist Notice?

A cease and desist letter doesn't serve as a legal document. Instead, it's a preliminary warning of future legal actions. If you send this type of notice and the recipient doesn't comply, however, you can move forward with the litigation you outlined in your letter.

What to Do If You Receive a Cease and Desist Letter

If you receive a cease and desist letter, take the time to read and respond to it carefully. Use these steps as a guide:

  1. Refrain from discussing the letter or the underlying issues with anyone except your attorney. Avoid posting or asking for advice about the situation online, as your posts could be used against you.
  2. Keep a copy of the letter and collect evidence that supports your perspective.
  3. If you or your attorney thinks the other party has a strong case, consider complying with the letter.
  4. If you or your attorney thinks you have a stronger case, consider replying with a refusal or requesting further documentation. You might also ask your attorney to file for a summary judgment in your favor.

What Is a Cease and Desist Order?

Also known as an injunction, a cease and desist order is legally binding. Only a judge or a government agency can issue this type of order to demand that the recipient stop the stated action.

This type of order generally follows a cease and desist letter if the recipient fails to comply with the original letter. In most cases, you can request this type of order if you can show that another person or organization has violated a mutual contract, infringed on your trademark, or targeted you for harassment.

How Long Do Cease and Desist Orders Last?

A cease and desist order can be temporary or permanent, and the length varies depending on the situation. These guidelines cover most cases:

  • Temporary cease and desist orders: Often last until the trial ends or until the parties reach a settlement
  • Permanent cease and desist orders: Usually issued after a trial concludes or when the parties reach a settlement

What to Do If You Receive a Cease and Desist Order

Since a cease and desist order is a legal document, it's important to take the order seriously. To respond, follow these steps:

  1. Ask your attorney to review the order.
  2. If your attorney believes the other party has a strong case, comply with the order. Document the steps you've taken.
  3. If your attorney believes you have a strong case, consider taking legal action or pursuing a trial.

Whether you want to protect your legal rights or you need assistance responding to a cease and desist letter, the Contracts Counsel team is at your service. Get a free proposal and take the first step toward drafting a legal document today.

Meet some of our Lawyers

O.T. W. on ContractsCounsel
View O.T.
5.0 (1)
Member Since:
March 8, 2023

O.T. W.

Free Consultation
Washington, DC
9 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MD, NY
Texas Southern University - Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Hi, my name is O.T. and I own The Walker Collective, a law firm that caters to the contractual, intellectual property, and business formation needs of creative entrepreneurs and small business owners. I am licensed to practice in Maryland and New York.

Karl D. S. on ContractsCounsel
View Karl D.
4.7 (2)
Member Since:
October 28, 2022

Karl D. S.

Free Consultation
Middlebury, Connecticut
12 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CT, MA
Pepperdine University School of Law

Karl D. Shehu, has a multidisciplinary practice encompassing small business law, estate and legacy planning, real estate law, and litigation. Attorney Shehu has assisted families, physicians, professionals, and people of faith provide for their loved ones by crafting individualized estate and legacy plans. Protecting families and safeguarding families is his passion. Attorney Shehu routinely represents lenders, buyers, sellers, and businesses in real estate transactions, researching and resolving title defects, escrowing funds, and drafting lending documents. To date, Attorney Shehu has closed a real estate deal in every town in Connecticut. As a litigator, Attorney Shehu has proven willing to engage in contentious court battles to obtain results for his clients. While practicing at DLA Piper, LLP, in Boston, Attorney Shehu represented the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies in multidistrict litigations filed throughout the United States. He has been a passionate advocate for immigrants and the seriously injured, frequently advising against lowball settlement offers. He is willing to try every case to verdict, and he meticulously prepares every case for trial. Attorney Shehu began his legal career as a consumer lawyer, utilizing fee-shifting statutes to force unscrupulous businesses to pay the legal fees of aggrieved consumers. For example, in Access Therapies v. Mendoza, 1:13-cv-01317 (S.D. Ind. 2014), Attorney Shehu utilized unique interpretations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Truth-in-Lending Act, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to obtain a favorable result for his immigrant client. Attorney Shehu is a Waterbury, Connecticut native. He attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel grammar school, The Loomis Chaffee School, and Chase Collegiate School before earning degrees from Boston College, the University of Oxford’s Said Business School in England, and Pepperdine University School of Law. At Oxford, Karl was voted president of his class. Outside of his law practice, Attorney Shehu has worked to improve the world around him by participating in numerous charitable endeavors. He is a former candidate for the Connecticut Senate and a parishioner of St. Patrick Parish and Oratory in Waterbury. In addition, Attorney Shehu has written extensively on the Twenty-fifth Amendment and law firm retention by multinational firms.

Elbert T. on ContractsCounsel
View Elbert
4.8 (7)
Member Since:
March 31, 2022

Elbert T.

Free Consultation
Oklahoma City
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in OK
Oklahoma City University School of Law

Elbert Thomas is the founder of the Thomas Law Group, LLC. Elbert is proficient in contract creation, drafting, reviewing, and negotiating various business contracts and demand letters in industries such as construction, personal, professional services, non-profits, and real estate. Elbert typically represents small and large companies in drafting and negotiating countless agreements such as purchase sale agreements, interconnection agreements, lease agreements, demand letters, cease & desist letters, transfer of deeds in real property, and merger/acquisition agreements. In addition, Elbert is also experienced in start-ups, small business formation, drafting operating agreements, and estate planning.

Damien B. on ContractsCounsel
View Damien
5.0 (3)
Member Since:
October 3, 2023

Damien B.

Managing Attorney
Free Consultation
Forest Hills, New York
23 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
Brooklyn Law School

My legal coverage includes Business Law, Commercial Litigation, Appeals and Trusts & Estates. I also handle Trademark applications and issues. I am a designated FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) arbitrator. I have done pro bono work in the Federal Court mediation program. I have worked for companies as a legal writer, editor and content provider. I have written legal articles for the New York Law Journal and the New York State Bar Association magazine. I was a guest lecturer at New York University on the First Amendment in the M.S. program of Public Relations and Corporate Communication program for the course Communication Ethics, Law and Regulation (Adjunct Professor Douglas Rozman). I graduated from Harvard University with an MPA, from Brooklyn Law School with a JD where I was a Richardson Merit Scholar; and Carnegie Mellon University with a BS, cum laude, concentrating in Administration and Management Science, Mathematics and Economics.

Matthew W. on ContractsCounsel
View Matthew
Member Since:
October 2, 2023

Matthew W.

Corporate Lawyer
Free Consultation
16 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
University of Texas Law School

I represent startups, investment firms, and individuals frequently with equity and debt financing, M&A transactions, and commercial contracts.

Nicole Y. on ContractsCounsel
View Nicole
Member Since:
October 3, 2023

Nicole Y.

Free Consultation
Miami, FL
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
St. Thomas University School of Law

Nicole Yñigo is an accomplished attorney with over nine years of experience in the legal field. Raised in Miami, she obtained her education from the School for Advanced Studies, Florida International University, and St. Thomas University School of Law. Nicole is dedicated to helping her clients achieve their legal goals and has built a strong reputation for providing personalized and effective legal representation. She has worked with various law firms and insurance companies on both Plaintiff and Defense matters. Nicole is the founder of The Ynigo Legal Group, where she offers compassionate and competent legal counsel in a direct and practical approach.

Gunnar C. on ContractsCounsel
View Gunnar
Member Since:
October 3, 2023

Gunnar C.

Free Consultation
12 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IN
Indiana University McKinney School of Law

I am a multifaceted lawyer, experienced in corporate law, nonprofits, private equity, real estate, financial services, taxation, trust and estate planning, and philanthropy. I am a strategic thinker and cross-functional collaborator who understands the importance of balancing revenue needs with business-minded legal counsel. I am skilled and experienced in preparing and reviewing SaaS agreements, service and vendor agreements, confidentiality, NDAs, data privacy, IP, licensing, real estate transactions, and partnership agreements.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Need to send a cease and desist letter?

Create a free project posting
See All Business Lawyers
Learn About Contracts
See More Contracts
other helpful articles

Quick, user friendly and one of the better ways I've come across to get ahold of lawyers willing to take new clients.

View Trustpilot Review

Contracts Counsel was incredibly helpful and easy to use. I submitted a project for a lawyer's help within a day I had received over 6 proposals from qualified lawyers. I submitted a bid that works best for my business and we went forward with the project.

View Trustpilot Review

I never knew how difficult it was to obtain representation or a lawyer, and ContractsCounsel was EXACTLY the type of service I was hoping for when I was in a pinch. Working with their service was efficient, effective and made me feel in control. Thank you so much and should I ever need attorney services down the road, I'll certainly be a repeat customer.

View Trustpilot Review

I got 5 bids within 24h of posting my project. I choose the person who provided the most detailed and relevant intro letter, highlighting their experience relevant to my project. I am very satisfied with the outcome and quality of the two agreements that were produced, they actually far exceed my expectations.

View Trustpilot Review

Need to send a cease and desist letter?

Create a free project posting

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city