A “Cease and Desist Order” is a type of court document issued by a judge in certain types of legal cases.  It is basically an injunction ordering the defendant to cease or stop certain actions, such as the unauthorized use of the plaintiff’s protected material in a copyright infringement case.  They are generally obtained in connection with the final ruling of a lawsuit, though they can often be requested independently of any legal proceeding.

Cease and desist orders are common for other types of legal issues besides copyright infringement.  They can be requested in connection with issues involving

  • Employers who are engaging in illegal or discriminatory conduct and policies
  • Spouses or other persons engaged in harassment or stalking of another
  • Businesses operations that involve unsafe, hazardous, or illegal activities such as toxic pollution
  • Slander or libel cases where a person or business’ name is being used in an offensive way

Are Cease and Desist Orders Enforceable Under The Law?

Cease and desist orders are generally enforceable under state and local laws, so long as they are issued by a judge or approved by one.  This is different from a cease and desist letter, which is a correspondence sent by one private party to another.  Cease and desist letters may not be backed by the authority of law, unless they are submitted to a judge and converted into an official court order. 

In order to obtain a cease and desist order, the party seeking the order should submit a request with the court.  If they have previously created a cease and desist letter, they should submit this to a judge along with any relevant information that would be useful in their case.  Such requests may require the assistance of an attorney in order to ensure that the letter is properly received by the court.

What if a Cease and Desist Order is Violated?

Violations of a court-approved cease and desist order can lead to legal penalties.  These may include a contempt order issued by the court, which my result in fines or other consequences.

In addition, if a cease and desist order is continually disregarded, it could lead to a civil lawsuit, especially where the violation has resulted in economic loss to the plaintiff.

Do I need a Lawyer for assistance with a Cease and Desist Order?

Obtaining a cease and desist order may be necessary in certain situations.  If you need assistance in obtaining or enforcing a cease-and-desist order, you may wish to contact a business lawyer in your area.  Your attorney can help you file the necessary documents, and can represent you in court to ensure that your interests are being met.