A cease and desist letter is a cautionary letter sent to an alleged wrongdoer describing the alleged misconduct and demanding that the alleged misconduct be stopped. A cease and desist letter provides notice that legal action may and will be taken if the conduct in question continues. Such letters are usually written by attorneys and are often sent to stop alleged or actual infringement of intellectual property rights, such as copyrights, trademarks, and patents. A cease-and-desist letter may also be used to warn the wrongdoer against harassment, slander, libel, as well as contractual violations. Even though a cease-and-desist letter is a non-binding letter and does not have a legal effect, it is primarily sent to the wrongdoer so that it may later be used as evidence in litigation against the wrongdoer if the alleged misconduct is not stopped.
[Last updated in November of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]