I Didn’t Steal Your Brand: what to do if you get a cease & desist letter
It is not fun receiving a scary letter from a lawyer saying you’re stepping on someone’s trademark toes. You’re minding your own business (literally) and all of a sudden, you’re hit with an accusation that you’re using someone else’s trademark. You didn’t do it on purpose! Or maybe they are trying to bully you! So, do you write them a letter back? Should you call them to talk it out? Will you just avoid the fight and rebrand? What’s a brand owner to do?!
Don’t just ignore it and hope it goes away – because it won’t! A cease and letter is essentially your written warning. The meat of a typical cease and desist letter goes like this:
You’re using our brand and you shouldn’t be,
If you don’t stop, we’re going to sue you, and
We’re giving you a chance to tell us you’ve stopped using our brand before we sue you.
There are a lot of things to consider when getting one of these types of letters. If the letter is on attorney letterhead, it’s a dead giveaway that the one accusing you of trademark theft is not taking the matter lightly. Regardless of whether the letter came from an attorney or not, a cease and desist letter should not be ignored. In fact, not responding the letter might result in you finding yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit – and no brand owner wants to take time away from their business to defend themselves in court.
Your first action should be… you guessed it… contact YOUR attorney! The sender might actually be infringing on YOUR rights. You may think this is impossible, but we have seen it happen before. This is why it is important to first talk with your attorney to make sure you have the proper grounds to send a response letter and avoid the lawsuit that’s being threatened against you and your brand. Your attorney might even find a away to not only allow you to keep using your brand but to also stop the sender from using your brand.
Don’t try to figure out the response strategy all on your own. Give us a call at 305-482-1113 and let us take this mess off your plate!