Proper use of a cease and desist letter is the first measure a business can take to protect itself from copyright and trademark infringement, as seen in recent news.
GiGi New York sent Gigi Hadid and her Tommy Hilfiger collaboration a cease and desist letter because of the similarities in the styling of their name of a new line of clothing called “GiGi,” which GiGi New York believes has the potential for customer confusion between the brands. GiGi New York has owned their trademark, “GiGi New York” for certain leather goods it produces, but only filed an application for the trademark “GiGi” after Hadid’s recent runway show.
A cease and desist letter is a tool that businesses use for any number of reasons: to stop harassment, assert ownership rights, or just want to formally tell someone to stop doing something harmful to you and your business. It lays the foundation that creates a paper trail for future action that may be needed, and can be tailored to be used much like an affidavit that outlines the facts and circumstances. But more importantly, it sends the message to the recipient that you take your business affairs seriously.
In a cease and desist letter similar to this situation hitting the news this week, the writer should include details about the copyrighted or trademarked work in question, proof that the writer holds the copyright or trademark and the instances where the holder of that intellectual property has been harmed by the recipient’s infringement. Writers should include any documentation they have and, most importantly, what steps they expect the recipient to take to fix the infringement.
However, a business should not use a cease and desist letter unless it is ready to follow through on the consequences it lays out should the recipient refuse to respond. Failure to follow up with appropriate legal action may actually harm a business should it sit on its rights for too long. Words in a cease and desist letter matter, so be ready to act as needed to protect your business.
*Gene Berardelli may be contacted at: GeneBerardelli@ipglegal.com.
Gene is a New York street-smart attorney with an extreme passion for success. Gene specializes in litigation, arbitration and general corporate law for New York-based and international clients. He, also, is the host of a popular New York talk radio program.
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