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Letter regarding receipt of unsolicited intellectual property materials

Every so often, materials containing unsolicited intellectual property (IP) is received by businesses. They may be a letter regarding an idea, actual inventions, or other materials.

Despite urban myths, these materials aren't a gift. You can't use the materials without the legal right to do so.

All intellectual property is covered by international law.

All intellectual property is highly sensitive, legally.

The copyright owner retains ownership unless formally assigned to someone else.

You have to deal with the situation defensively, for legal reasons. Some IP owners want acknowledgement of receipt of their materials, for obvious reasons. Just to complicate matters, many aren't too sure of their own rights.

The problem is you've been sent the material, either as a commercial proposition, a suggestion, or out of the blue as a sales pitch.

The simplest option is to regard the materials as advertising for a product, and make your decision regarding their merits on that basis.

You can deal with both the IP and acknowledgement simply, in one letter.

If you wish to reject or consider the concept further, it's not necessary to go into detail.

Note: It's strongly advised if you wish to consider the IP that no formal commitments are made without discussion with the IP owner.



Your reference
Our reference


Re: Receipt of materials

I acknowledge as requested receipt of your letter and materials 'Matter transference apparatus' dated 12 December 2010.

Thank you for sending us these materials.

Optional text

  • However, I must inform you that the subject matter is not appropriate for our business. The materials are herewith returned in good order.
  • We would like to discuss your concept in more detail. Please contact me on the above phone number to arrange a meeting.

Yours sincerely



Please note:

  • This text is intended for advisory and guideline purposes only.
  • Any business letter can become a legal document, so check your content properly before issuing.
  • Any executable or statutorily defined document should be checked for compliance with legal requirements, and you should seek legal advice regarding its contents.