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Questions on Cease and Desist Notice

An order or a letter of “cease and desist” served to an individual or organization aims to bring any unwanted activity to an end (cease) and prevent it from occurring again (desist) with legal consequences. Typically, a cease and desist order is issued by a court or a government authority to prevent an illegal activity as a temporary or permanent injunction. However, a letter of this nature may be drafted by anyone though it does not have the power of law. Listed below are some of the top questions on the subject answered by Legal Experts.

I protested and complained at a science fair competition where a parent was judging his own child. I complained again when it happened the next year. However, I have been served with a cease and desist letter with an allegation of defamation. What are my next steps?

If you have not made any false accusations and only stated that the competition involved a conflict of interest in the case of the parent judging the child, your statements cannot be construed as defamation. In legal terms, defamation would have to include false communication that willfully harms the reputation of a person and “induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.”

While you may view the cease and desist letter as intimidation, your legal recourse would be limited to mailing the person who sent you the notice stating that any further contact from them will be treated as harassment leading you to pursue legal action.

How do I obtain a cease and desist order against a former client who is harassing me with false complaints and threatening mails?

You may sue your former client in court for harassment if you wish to obtain a cease and desist order, or a restraining order/injunction. But first, you may sue the client for defamation of character and seek a motion for an injunction against the client to prevent such comments being made against you.

I was served a cease and desist order from a popular TV show for putting up an advertisement providing an alternative service to what they show and do on TV. My product added the term “alternative” to the trademark name. Can they still serve me a notice?

The TV show’s name in itself could be a widely recognizable symbol for the purposes of federal trademark. Using this trademark with the word ‘alternative’ attached could be permitted in certain cases including media articles, comedy shows, etc. or activities not generating profit. You would be infringing on the trademark if you advertise a similar service as an alternative using their trademark. This is so because it may cause people to confuse it with the real trademark. However, in this case, when you state that the original service needs an alternative, you could also be tainting their image by implying that their service is not good enough in the first place.

While you may not be infringing on their trademark outright, the trademark owners may just be keen that you stop using it, which is why you were served a cease and desist order.

My spouse's ex has been harassing me with slanderous remarks and spreading rumors about me. Do I need to hire an attorney to write a cease and desist letter?

It is always better to hire an attorney to draft a cease and desist letter to this person stating that you would take legal action file a suit for defamation if such statements and actions against you are not stopped. You may also pursue a civil harassment suit against this individual for the slanderous comments made against you. For this, you would have to show that the comments were made willfully, were directed at you, served no legitimate purpose, and seriously caused mental distress and harassment.

My spouse’s ex, who has been harassing me, has served me with a cease and desist letter stating that it is I who should stop the harassment. What is my legal recourse?

A cease and desist letter served by an individual is not enforceable by law. Such a letter only serves to document the fact that you were requested to stop harassing that individual. In itself, it cannot be used as proof of your actions.

In the event that a suit is filed against you, your own behavior and conduct would be the deciding factor regardless of whether or not you received this letter. In that respect, the letter is practically irrelevant. It is not enough to merely claim harassment; it will have to be duly proved.

You may seek a cease and desist or restraining order from the court against this person contacting or communicating with you.   As you have read, a cease and desist letter only serves as a warning. If it has to have legal enforceability, you will have to pursue a suit in the court. However, in case you have been served with a cease and desist order that you wish to reverse, you may request a hearing with the administrative law judge to show that you have not violated any law. However, it is best to seek help from Legal Experts in a situation like this.

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Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: General
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Experience:  JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
4460311
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