Just what makes a good cease and desist letter?
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Just what makes a good cease and desist letter?

Jack Daniel’s spends millions of dollars each year marketing its whiskey. But a cease and desist letter sent by its trade mark attorney and dubbed “perhaps the most polite ever written” might have been its best advertising move this year


When the recipient of your cease and desist letter describes it as the most polite ever written, you might feel flattered. When he’s an author with a new book to promote who writes about it on his blog, you can expect it to go viral.

The story of Christy Susman’s letter to Patrick Wensink about the cover image used for his book Broken Piano for President has been picked up by dozens of websites and news outlets and praised for its constructive approach and friendly tone.

The response to Susman’s letter has been altogether different to the reaction from the writers at British satirical magazine Private Eye to a letter from a trade mark lawyer at Portakabin. He had requested the magazine stop using the Portakabin trade mark in a generic sense, only to have his letter reprinted under the headline "What a tragic way to make a living”.

So what makes an effective cease and desist letter? Does a tough approach still have a place in the legal armoury of trade mark lawyers or should all letters be modelled on the one written by Jack Daniel’s?

Do trade mark lawyers cringe when asked to send warning letters to unsuspecting misusers? Are they always aware of the parody potential? Let us know what makes a good cease and desist letter – and the worst you’ve received.

Click on the comment button above to give your views.

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