A fundamental flaw of the LOI, lies in what Vasilios J. Kalogredis, a Wayne, Pennsylvania attorney, calls "the uncertainty and potential risk of any such undertaking." Kalogredisis, a business contract law expert, explains it this way: "Letters of intent are often touted as a 'non_legally binding' way to get the parties to set forth in writing what the undertaking is among them relative to a transaction. Too often, parties will sign such a document, feeling that they have little or nothing to lose by doing so... [True, that's] one of the attractive elements of the letter of intent [its purported non_binding nature]. However, courts have found letters of intent to create binding obligations, even if the letter itself does not explicitly state that it is binding... certain provisions within the document may indeed [still] have legal effect."
There are enough litigation examples on this issue around to suggest their fears are well placed. A confidentiality agreement (also called a non_disclosure agreement) and followed by a letter of intent is the two step process for allowing a business concept owner to establish a new business relationship without losing control of their business idea.