What if I receive a cease and desist letter?

Minneapolis trademark attorney Jennifer Debrow discusses cease and desist letters.

Contact Jennifer Debrow

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (612) 632-3357


Receiving a cease and desist letter is very stressful for most people. Usually, these letters are very stridently worded and they can be very concerning. I would say the first thing I tell clients when they receive a cease and desist letter is just to calm down. This is not gonna be the end of the world, typically. Really, the worst-case scenario – and it can be a bad scenario – is that you’ll have to change the mark, but it certainly very unlikely that you’ll have to pay millions of dollars in damages. That is not common in trademark cases. Nearly all trademark infringement disputes are resolved without litigation, are resolved by one party changing the mark, or the parties reaching an agreement to coexist with some restrictions, potentially, on how one party can use the mark. So I do tell people to calm down. It’s not the end of the world, but I think the next step, after calming down, is to investigate this party’s use, investigate the claims they make in the cease and desist letter, and then speak to trademark counsel to evaluate what the next steps are, and hopefully, you can negotiate some kind of coexistence that might allow you to continue using your mark, in spite of this person’s potentially senior rights.