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Cease & Desist Letter

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Your Cease & Desist Letter

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______________________, , __________

________________ ____, ________

______________________, , __________

Ref No: __________

Dear ______________________:

Canada's Office of Consumer Affairs has provided a Harmonized List of Prohibited Collection Practices, revised April 25, 2003, (the "Prohibited Practices") that provides a minimum level of restrictions on collection agents and protections for Canadian consumers from collection agents. Any restrictions and protections contained in the governing law that are greater than the Prohibited Practices are also applicable to any collection activities between you and myself for the account.

The remainder of this document will be available when you have purchased a licence.

Last updated May 1, 2023

What is a Cease and Desist Letter?

A Cease and Desist Letter is a formal letter you send to an individual or organization to demand that they stop engaging in a specific activity that infringes on your legal rights. It warns the recipient you’ll take legal action if they don’t comply.

Cease and Desist Letters are often used in cases when intellectual property is misused, such as trademark and copyright infringement, but can also be used in cases of harassment, defamation, or other forms of unlawful conduct.

Sending Cease and Desist Letters is most useful when immediate legal action is not necessary or desirable. Instead, it’s a cost-effective and efficient way to assert your legal rights and seek a resolution to a dispute without resorting to litigation.

What is the purpose of a Cease and Desist Letter?

The main purpose of a Cease and Desist Letter is to inform the recipient that they’re infringing on your rights and demand that they stop. Whether the recipient knowingly or unknowingly infringes on your rights, the best way to start is by informing them with a letter.

Besides allowing you to address the infringement formally, a Cease and Desist Letter creates a written record of you informing the recipient. This could be very helpful if an individual or organization won’t stop their behaviour and you have to take legal action against them.

Of course, taking legal action is the last resort. Instead, a Cease and Desist Letter gives the recipient time to rectify the situation and stop the behaviour. Ideally, a Cease and Desist Letter can help you quickly resolve an issue before it escalates into costly and time-consuming litigation.

Grounds for using a Cease and Desist Letter

Here are some situations in which it may be appropriate to use a Cease and Desist Letter:

  • Debt collection: If a debt collector or collection agency is inappropriately harassing you, demand that they cease communications with you.
  • Copyright infringement: If an unauthorized party infringes on your copyrighted material, assert your legal rights and demand they stop using and distributing your work.
  • Trademark infringement: If an unauthorized party infringes on your trademarked material, demand they discontinue using and distributing your work.
  • Harassment: Demand that someone stop harassing you. Harassment can include actions like stalking, cyberbullying, or unwanted contact.
  • Defamation: If someone is making false statements about you or your business that are harming your reputation, demand they stop and retract any previous false statements.
  • Property, boundary, and neighbourhood disputes: If a neighbour is causing a problem, demand that they stop the behaviour.
  • Breach of contract: If you have a contract with someone (e.g., an NDA or Confidentiality Agreement) and they’re not fulfilling their obligations, demand that they comply with the contract terms.

When using our Cease and Desist Letter template, select a general letter type if your situation doesn’t involve debt collection, copyright infringement, or trademark infringement. The general letter template allows you to describe the recipient’s unacceptable behaviour in a full paragraph.

How to write a Cease and Desist Letter

Using our template, we’ll prompt you to provide the following details to create your Cease and Desist Letter:

  • Your information, including your name and address
  • Recipient’s information, including their name and address
  • Infringement information that explains what actions you want to stop
  • Date of letter

For a Cease and Desist Letter to be effective, it should be as specific as possible and outline the exact actions the recipient must stop taking.

Our Cease and Desist Letter template lets you create four types of letters: general, debt collection, and copyright or trademark infringement.

Use the general letter to demand that an individual or organization stop any action or behaviour, including defamation, harassment, breach of action, and other disputes.

How to send a Cease and Desist Letter

There are a few ways to deliver a Cease and Desist Letter. If you send it by mail, ensure you use registered mail so you know when your letter arrived and who signed for it. This method is valuable because a recipient could plead ignorance of the dispute and claim they didn't receive the letter.

Other ways of delivering a Cease and Desist Letter include:

  • Delivering the letter in person
  • Hiring a process server to deliver the letter on your behalf
  • Sending the letter through email

Some people send Cease and Desist Letters using multiple methods (e.g., in person and via email).

Once you’ve sent your Cease and Desist Letter, it’s always a good idea to keep a copy for yourself and record the time, date, and place of delivery. In addition, you may send a copy of the letter to your attorney, if you have one.

Is a Cease and Desist Letter enforceable?

A Cease and Desist Letter is not legally enforceable in and of itself. It merely informs and demands the recipient to stop an undesired action.

However, you can use it as evidence in a legal proceeding to show that the recipient was aware of the infringement and that you gave them the opportunity to stop the behaviour or rectify the situation.

During a legal proceeding, a court or government agency could implement a judgement or order that requires the recipient to stop a specific activity or behaviour immediately. Judgements and orders are enforceable. The court or agency could outline fines, penalties, and even imprisonment for noncompliance as part of a judgement or order.

Does a Cease and Desist letter need to be notarized?

No, a Cease and Desist Letter doesn’t need to be notarized in Canada.

What happens if a Cease and Desist Letter is ignored?

If the recipient ignores your letter, you’ll have to decide if you want to escalate your actions against them. However, you should give the recipient reasonable time to comply with your request.

What constitutes a reasonable timeframe depends on:

  • Delivery method: How you deliver the letter can affect how quickly the recipient can rectify the situation. Delivery by email is immediate, but a standard postal service will take longer.
  • The infringing activity or behaviour: It might take time for the recipient to remedy the situation, depending on the activity or behaviour. For example, if they're running an ad that wrongfully contains your company logo, they may need time to remove it.

Related documents:

  • Affidavit: Prepare a written statement made under oath.
  • Confientiality Agreement: Protect sensitive information by prohibiting the disclosure of this information to an outside source.
  • Demand Letter: Request an action or payment from another party.
  • Letter of Intent: Create a letter that outlines a mutual understanding of a future agreement.
  • Release/Waiver Agreement: Create an agreement in which one party waives their right to make a legal claim against another party in case of a dispute.
  • Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA): Maintain privacy in agreements where sensitive information is exchanged between two parties.
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