Cease and Desist Letters for China IP Violations: They Can Work

Our international IP attorneys are often contacted by companies looking for help to stop Chinese companies from infringing on their IP — usually a trademark, sometimes a copyright or a patent or even a trade secret.

We have written a lot of these cease and desist letters to Chinese companies and we generally like them.

If you are faced with someone in China using your IP, you can pursue either administrative remedies of court remedies. Either way though, you will likely need to spend quite a bit of money on lawyers and it will take time for you to get any results. The cease and desist letter (usually called a “lawyer’s letter” in China) will almost certainly be faster and cheaper, assuming it works.

We find these letters usually (but certainly not always) work if the company to which you are sending the letter is a legitimate company, but they virtually never work if it is not. The legitimate company usually does not want to risk its reputation or money on a losing claim, but the fly-by-night company typically does not care. It is essential that these letters be written in Chinese and refer specifically to the legal and factual basis of your claims.

Not only does it not usually make sense to send out such a letter to a fly-by-night company that is almost certainly just going to ignore it, it also does not make sense to send out such a letter if it is important that you catch the offending company unawares with your law suit. It is oftentimes a good idea to secure an evidence preservation order from a court and you typically want that order to hit the offending company completely unawares so that its time to destroy evidence is minimized.

These letters can work well for all sorts of IP violations, including where someone is using your trade secrets.

What have you found with these?