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Cease! I Insist! How You Can Respond to Trademark Infringement

Imagine, all of a sudden finding your small business in competition with the likes of Kim Kardashian. If your customers or potential customers mistake her company for yours, your revenues could plummet! And fast!

Recently, news outlets reported that Kim Kardashian had been slapped with a cease and desist letter relating to her new skincare and beauty line. The report stated that a small skincare company served Ms. Kardashian because the name of her new line was very similar to that of the small skincare company.

What is a cease and desist letter?

This small skin care company took these steps to protect its trademark and brand. But many may be wondering what exactly is a cease and desist letter? First, it can come in the form of a letter or an email. It is any correspondence that states the recipient (in this case, Ms. Kardashian) may be using a trademark owned by another business or person without permission (called “infringing”). The correspondence or letter demands that the recipient stop using the trademark or be subject to potential legal action.

What can you do if you receive a cease and desist letter?

I’m sure Ms. Kardashian is adequately represented by attorneys who are advising her appropriately. Here are just a few options available for responding to a cease and desist letter:

1. Deny

You can respond by denying that you are “infringing” the trademark outright. You may also request additional information about the claim of infringement. This can help you determine what the best next steps would be in defending yourself.

2. Ignore

You can choose to do nothing at all. This can be risky if the sender of the cease and desist letter has intent to follow through with additional action if you do not meet the demands. It could also come back in unpleasant ways –read financially liability-- if you end up in court. But some cease and desist letters may only be sent to bluff or intimidate the recipient.

3. Work it out

In addition, you can work out an arrangement with the sender of the letter by which you can still use the mark under certain conditions.

These are just a few of the options available. If you have received a cease and desist letter, you should contact Business and Intellectual Property attorney Della Stein to help you explore the right options for you. Call today (408) 357-3251!

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