Once you’ve been granted a patent for a valuable invention, it’s a cause for some relief – but you can’t simply sit back and hope that your rights are observed. If you don’t enforce your exclusive rights against anybody who illegally infringes upon them, you could lose your patent in the future.
If someone is found using your patent, you may be able to shut them down with a cease and desist letter.
Why use a cease and desist letter instead of filing a lawsuit?
Ideally, you want to settle the issue as quickly as possible and limit economic harm to yourself. A cease and desist letter essentially orders the other party to stop using your invention. Even if the attempt to resolve the issue this way fails, the cease-and-desist letter can be useful for:
- Notification: A cease and desist letter serves as a formal notification to the other party that their actions may be infringing on your patent rights.
- Documentation: Sending a cease and desist letter establishes a paper trail that can be valuable later in court. It clearly shows that you took steps to address the infringement and communicated your concerns.
- Pre-litigation negotiation: In many cases, the cease and desist letter serves as the starting point for negotiations between the parties. The alleged infringer may respond by contesting the claims, seeking a license or proposing other solutions. This can potentially lead to a resolution without the need for costly litigation.
- Evidence of willful infringement: If the alleged infringer continues their activities after receiving a cease and desist letter, it can potentially be used as evidence of willful infringement in court. This may lead to more significant damages if you prevail in the case.
- Clarification of legal position: The letter can also provide clarity on the legal position of both parties, which can lead to a better understanding of the case on both sides.
The value of a cease and desist letter varies depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Sometimes, sending a letter may not be the best strategy, especially if you are not prepared to follow through with litigation or if the alleged infringer has a strong defense.
Protecting your patents is a lot of work, and there are many different factors to consider when they’re threatened. Understanding which approach to the problem is best requires qualified legal know-how.