When it comes to legal matters, a cease and desist (C&D) is an important tool used to protect businesses. If your Los Angeles-based business needs guidance from attorneys who understand local regulation and can help you deploy a C&D, UpCounsel’s network of experienced lawyers have you covered.

Here, we answer some of the frequently asked questions about C&D, in order to get you up to speed on this critical term.

What is a Cease and Desist?

A ‘cease and desist’ is a legal notification recommending or requiring someone to stop a specific activity or conduct. It warns that if they continue, the recipient could be sued or face other legal consequences.

C&D notices can be sent by your legal counsel or other lawyers on behalf of your business. They’re generally used to ask or demand that a party — whether an individual, organization, or business — stop engaging in certain activities that conflict with your legal rights, such as copyright or patent infringement, trademark violation, or libelous statements. They’re also used to put an end to harassment or deceptive trade practices, or anything else that violates your legal rights.

What Do C&D Notices Include?

A cease and desist letter should explain why the subject's actions are unlawful and can include a demand that the subject pay a certain amount for damages or for the rights infringed upon, as well as a warning that litigation may be initiated if the demand isn’t met. A well-prepared C&D letter should include specific details about an alleged infringement and must list any targeted activities that the sender demands the recipient to stop, such as using specific trademarks or copyrights in a specific way.

Can C&D Notices Be Used in California?

California courts recognize cease and desist notices as a reasonable and fair way to stop infringements or unwelcome behavior. However, it’s important to note that C&D notices written in California must adhere to the state’s Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which outlines rules and regulations for those who provide debt collection services. This means that businesses sending out a C&D should hire an attorney familiar with California’s debt collection act to ensure the letter complies with state laws and while also advocating forcefully for the business’s rights.

Are C&D Notices Binding?

Cease and desist notices aren’t binding — meaning, the recipient has no contractual or legal obligation to comply. However, it’s a relatively economical and effective way to inform a person or business of potential legal action. If the recipient refuses to comply, the sender may then take the necessary steps to seek legal action.

What is the Process to File a C&D?

The process to file a C&D depends on the exact circumstances of the case. Generally, it’s best to first consult an experienced attorney who is familiar with local and state laws, as well as the details of the case.

At UpCounsel, our network of experienced attorneys can help walk you through the C&D process, from investigating the claim to drafting the letter. UpCounsel’s attorneys will work with you to ensure that the letter is compliant with California laws, that it focuses on the recipient’s specific activities, and that it includes any relevant information.

Are C&D Notices Legally Enforceable?

C&D notices aren’t legally enforceable. However, if the recipient violates the notice, they can be sued for damages. Even if the recipient doesn’t breach the C&D letter, the sender may be able to pursue compensation if they can demonstrate damages or financial loss — so it’s important to carefully consider whether to pursue legal action before sending a letter.

In summary

C&D notices play a critical role in protecting your business from infringements and other issues. Even just a well-crafted cease and desist notice can be enough to make the recipient comply with your demands and cease their unwanted activities.

If you need help in Los Angeles with filing a C&D, UpCounsel’s attorney network is here to help. Whether you need a one-time consult or an entire freelance legal department, UpCounsel’s experienced attorneys have you covered.


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