trademark cease and desist letters

A cease and desist letter is a message that one party sends to another to let them know they may be infringing on their trademark. This letter may also request the individual to stop using or consider stopping the use of the alleged trademark. However, to help you better understand how these letters can help enforce your trademark rights, we will cover what you need to know about cease and desist letters and their importance.

How Does a Cease and Desist Letter Work?

Upon becoming aware of infringing activity, a trademark owner can send a cease and desist letter to the other party at any time. However, it is important for the trademark owner to act promptly and not unreasonably delay sending the letter. Taking quick action demonstrates that the owner is actively protecting their rights, and it can also help in building a solid case against the other party if further legal action is needed to resolve the issue.

It is also important to note that when a cease and desist letter is sent, the individual receiving it may choose to file a declaratory judgment action in a forum of their choosing, asking the court to rule that they are not infringing on the trademark in question. That is why if there is a high risk of a declaratory judgment action, the mark’s owner may want to consider filing a complaint prior to sending the demand letter to make sure they receive a favorable forum if the matter leads to litigation.

What Is Included in the Cease and Desist Letter?

Cease and desist letters may contain a variety of information, but at the very least, they should include the following key details:

  • The trademark owner’s name
  • A description of the trademark owner’s rights
  • The trademark’s registration number
  • A description of the infringer’s activity on the accused trademark
  • Evidence indicating a similarity between the trademarks or the nature of the services and goods
  • A demand or request that the infringing party stop the activity within a certain time period 
  • An explanation of the steps that will be taken if the infringing activity continues

What Happens When an Individual Receives a Cease and Desist Letter? 

Individuals have several options for responding to a cease and desist letter, including the following: 

Respond to the Letter

The individual can respond to the letter and deny any infringement or request further details as to why the mark’s owner believes they are infringing on the trademark, including specific dates and the geographic locations where the trademark has been used.

Do Nothing

An individual may decide to refrain from responding to the cease and desist letter and any follow-ups. However, if they do not respond, it may cause them issues down the road. For instance, if they are later found liable for infringement, the court may decide that they acted recklessly and are subject to further compensation. 


The individual may decide to negotiate with the trademark owner for the use of the trademark on mutually agreeable terms. Or they will choose not to infringe on the trademark. 

They Will Pursue Their Own Lawsuit

The individual may decide to sue the trademark owner for a “declaratory judgment” indicating that the trademark does not infringe on a mark. 

Contact TM Law Today To Learn More About Your Trademark Rights

With over 60 years of combined legal experience, TM Law understands the importance of protecting your intellectual property. Our experienced legal team specializes in assisting individuals, small to medium-sized businesses, and other attorneys with intellectual property issues.  

If you are facing trademark infringement, contact TM Law today to learn more about your legal options. Our team will schedule a consultation to discuss your needs and develop a plan to help your brand thrive.