It’s an all too familiar tale. You’re growing your business, excited at the possibilities and prospects. But then something unexpected happens; you receive a cease and desist order (C&D). The predicament you now find yourself in can either become a huge obstacle or a moderate inconvenience, depending on how you handle the situation. This article will take a look at five key aspects of a cease and desist order and how to handle each of them.

A C&D is a legal order you must comply with, otherwise you could face serious legal ramifications. It’s important to recognize that it is a legal order and not just an item of annoyance, and you must take it seriously. Most often, a C&D will be formulated by the opposing party and sent to the target, outlining very specific activities that must stop. It’s in your best interest to refer to a knowledgeable attorney before acting on the C&D in any way.

When it comes to C&Ds, prevention is always preferable to reacting on the spot. Having a legal counsel proactively point out areas of potential risk can help you avoid a C&D altogether. There are steps you can take to protect your place of business or brand from potential legal troubles. Make sure you understand relevant state, federal, and international laws, as well as trademark laws, to better defend your business name, logo, and or any intellectual property involved.

When you receive a C&D, evaluate it before responding. Does the C&D oversimplify the issue, or is the opposition party reaching beyond the borders of law-abiding civility? Even if the opposition is on the mark, however, your response must still be in compliance with the law. If you believe the C&D might be inappropriately broad and outside the reach of law, the targeted party can opt to file an objection in court.

If you feel the C&D is problematic but still within the bounds of the law, evaluate the terms of the C&D to determine if making adjustments can resolve the issue, thus avoiding further legal action. You may also be able to negotiate the terms of the C&D to prevent any legal battles. If this route is pursued, be sure to document all correspondence, who said what, and when.

If the C&D cannot be dismissed, or if it is the right thing to do, then it’s time to move to compliance. If the C&D is limited to certain activities, you may be able to continue a modified version of the same operations or business, as long as they do not create a threat or conflict for the opposing party that spawned the C&D. If the C&D is more wide-reaching, then you may be required to stop the applicable activity in its entirety. Again, having a business lawyer can help you decide the best course of action.

A C&D can be devastating if left unheeded. Knowing the risks and having a strategy for prevention and response is key. If you live in Chicago, you are in a great location to connect with experienced attorneys who specialize in local regulations. If you’re looking to find the right counsel, UpCounsel is the place to connect. Whether you need a one-time consultation or an entire freelance legal department, UpCounsel and its network of experienced lawyers are the perfect option for small businesses and Fortune 1000 companies alike.


Cease & Desist Order,

Local Regulation,

Legal Services