Intellectual Property Theft: The Cease & Desist Letter

Your intellectual property is the very core of your business. It is your ideas and innovations, your brand, and everything that makes your company unique. Any attempt to steal from your company should anger you, but a theft of intellectual property can be a particularly galling prospect.

So what do you do when a current employee, or a former employee, or even a business rival steals your intellectual property? Due to the complex nature of IP law it can take time to work out and execute a strategy for proving and combating the theft. In the meantime, however, you do not have to simply stand by and watch someone else profit from your hard work.

The circumstances of the theft will dictate how you respond, and your response could vary drastically from case to case, but you should always start by consulting with an experienced intellectual property lawyer who can advise you on your best course of action, whether that be working to collect evidence, filing a lawsuit, or simply trying to speak with the offending party.

Nonetheless, while this process plays out you can attempt the immediate remedy of sending the alleged thief a cease and desist letter. There is no guarantee that the offending party will adhere to your request, but sometimes this could be all you need to sort out a misunderstanding over the intellectual property or sufficiently scare them away from trying to use the stolen IP.

There are a number of ways you can go about crafting a cease and desist letter, and once again your attorney can advise you on the best course of action, but there are a few things you should always include. You will need to detail what intellectual property was stolen or infringed upon, the nature of the theft (i.e. copyright, patent, trade secret, etc), and exactly what actions you want the offending party to take as well as a timeline for them to take said actions.

The response to this letter will dictate your next steps. Ideally, the cease and desist letter will be enough to remedy the situation. However, if they fail to respond or cease using the stolen IP, you will need to take more aggressive legal action.

If you suspect that your intellectual property has been stolen or infringed upon, please contact Integrated General Counsel and let us work to protect what is rightfully yours.

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Written by Integrated General Counsel

Our focus includes handling a variety of corporate matters and also includes litigation in state and federal courts. Our current practice includes providing transactional services and representing a variety of small and medium-sized companies as their outsourced general counsel.