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MDLaw, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 6133
Experience:  Experience in business law, contract law and related matters.
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I had sent a letter to a competitor to cease and desist

Customer Question

I had sent a letter to a competitor to cease and desist using my Intellectual Property that she got from my website. She called her attorney because she felt threaten by my letter. It was a simple stop to use my stuff letter. now she wants me to pay her attorney fees. She did change her contract not to look exactly like mind and change the wording. I know she used mind because she copy it word for word with the typo error I had in it.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  MDLaw replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for using the Just Answer website. I look forward to assisting you. Can you please provide me with more detail? What IP was she using? On what basis is she asking you to pay her attorney's fees? Is the threatening to sue you? If so, for what?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am a bridal show producer since 1997. This person is a non friendly competitor. Many times in the past she would copy my advertising, website information, etc. Recently it came to my attention that her contract forms looked exactly like mine. The same layout, and the regulations where copied word for word in the agreement. (Even the typo errors). On my website I have a disclosure that nothing on my website can be "copied, reproduced, republished, downloaded, post, transmit or make available to the public, or otherwise use any content on our site in any way except for own personal, non-commercial use".
My contracts are available for my vendors to download and fill out to participate in shows. This last January she held a show one week before mind and using the same contract. Wedding professionals were confused as to which show was mind and which was hers. I lost two vendors for sure due to this confusion. FYI I have always had a show in January, competition was March. When I had received her information last April and saw the info packet and notice it looked liked mind I sent a cease and desist letter. It was on my letter head not a legal firm, and the last line in the letter stated that "if removal of the infringing material and written notification submitted within two weeks from the date of the letter that such has been done, I will consider no further action against you". She took it upon herself to contact her lawyer about this issue. Now she wants me to pay her bill of $1053.00 because she felt threaten and bullied. She has sent me four certified letters on this matter. I responded back on 9.3.15 that "Without provocation, your decision to pursue legal counsel was a personal choice. I hold no financial responsibility in your legal expense". Today I received another certified letter still demanding payment or she was going to small claims with this issue.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did receive a letter from her attorney stating that the information in my agreements is general information and that I hold no copy right to this information. Also I am not to contact her, harass or bully his client in the future. I did not feel that is what I was doing. Just asking her to change her format and wording some. Having the layout exactly the same is wrong in my eyes. Especially when it can and did confuse participants in the shows. In the meantime she did change her form not to look like mine but the Regulation on the back is the same. (with the typo errors). I just have never heard of having to pay for someone's legal fees before a law suit was ever made.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If you would like to call me to discuss more my cell is(###) ###-####
Expert:  MDLaw replied 1 year ago.

Hi Debbie,

Based on what you have written, it does seem like her attorney is correct in that none of the information she used was something that you could get a valid copyright on. Without being able to see the documents, contract terms are almost always the same no matter what lawyer drafts the contract. There isn't anything unique or copyrightable in terms of a general contract. If she were using your photos or logo, however, that would be a different story and you would have a legal basis upon which to ask her to cease and desist. With respect to confusion, the fact that each contract should state in the first paragraph the parties to the contract should take care of the confusion problem. I'm not clear as to how a participant would get confused if the name of the company is written on the contract? If you want to give me a specific example, that would be helpful.

With respect to her legal bill, you have no obligation to pay her legal fees and she has no legal basis upon which to sue you. Anyone can sue anyone but in terms of having a valid case, she does not have one. It sounds like she is just trying to scare you.

Please let me know if this has answered your question and whether you need any clarification on anything.

Expert:  MDLaw replied 1 year ago.

Do you still need additional information. If not, please be so kind as to leave me a positive rating as that is the only way that we experts receive credit for the time spent assisting you since we experts do not work for Just Answer.