It used to be that cease and desist letters were on fancy firm letterhead and delivered via certified mail. Today you’re much more likely to get an unceremonious PDF attached to an e-mail.
So what do you do? Read it carefully, identify what they want, and think about contacting an attorney.
Cease and desist letters can vary dramatically. Some, as the name redundantly implies, just want you to stop doing something, other will make demands for settlement or request replies by a certain date.
If the letter is asking you to stop doing something, you may be able to take care of it without involving an attorney. First, determine whether you can stop doing it and how much it will cost to stop. If the cost to stop using a design, or selling a certain product is low, it may be worth it to simply comply with the letter.
However, if that design or that product are very important to your business, you may want to contact an attorney to see if you are in a good position to fight with the party sending the letter. Similarly, if the letter asks for a reply, or makes a demand to pay money, it’s best to involve an attorney.
Modern Renaissance Legal can typically respond within 24 hours with an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the case presented in the cease and desist letter, as well as providing you with a history the sender has in litigating cases similar to those in the letter.