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Utilizing a Cease and Desist Letter to Enforce Your Legal Rights and Protect Your Interests

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Paul R. Bedard, EsquirePaul R. Bedard, Esquire

What is one of the first things you should do upon learning that one of your former employees is in violation of their non-compete agreement, soliciting your current and former clients while working for your greatest competitor? What actions should you initially take upon discovering that another health club is using your protected logo or engaging in any activity that violates your legal rights or damages your protected interests?

A cease and desist letter can be the most efficient and effective initial legal action when seeking to stop the actions of a party that is in violation of contract, harassing employees or members, infringing upon intellectual property, etc. However, what should be included within a cease and desist letter? And, just as importantly, what content and related conduct should be avoided to ensure that you don't expose yourself to subsequent liability?

The following is an overview of cease and desist letters and how they can help to enforce your legal rights and protect your interests. However, this article is not intended as legal advice. Widely varying laws specific to each jurisdiction prohibit one-size-fits-all recommendations. Please consider these comments as merely an educational guide to assist you when you consult your own attorney for specific direction.

Why a Cease and Desist Letter?

It's no secret that litigation is expensive. While often necessary, litigation can, at times, be avoided with the help of a properly drafted cease and desist letter. Whether the issue involves the violation of a non-compete agreement, trademark infringement, harassment, defamation or any other prohibited conduct, a letter that details the exact activities at issue and the consequences of the continuation of these activities may help to resolve the issue without costly litigation.

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