How can I go after my backstabbing business partner?
June 17, 2006 5:56 AM Subscribe
What can I do about a business partner who ran off with an idea?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My "friend" and I have worked together on startup ideas and other projects for three years. One of us would have an idea, we'd flesh it out together and see what stuck. There was never anything agreed-upon, but anything that was brought to outside investors/partners was 50-50 on paper.
This latest idea was his, and admittedly a hot one. We fleshed it out over two months, wrote a business plan, etc. In the biz plan we outlined ownership percentages -- his slightly higher because it was his idea.
Partner of mine managed to hoodwink some software company into looking at our stuff, and they loved it. They wanted to "buy" us -- hire us to build our product under their banner. I let partner handle the communication, because he had a relationship with them, but I led our negotiations -- meaning after their first offer (low salaries, low stock), when partner o' mine was considering it, I said "absolutely not." Then I set out our strategy for getting more out of them.
It worked. But here's the rub. Out of the blue, my friend negotiated a deal for himself, getting him 1/3 ownership of the combined company -- and left me completely out to dry.
So the question(s), finally: What can I do about this? Sue? Tie things up in red tape? Live and let go?
A big part of me is considering going tete-a-tete with my former friend and his new jackasses by starting a competing company (they're going to blow it), but I'd like to have some quasi-legal input before I talk to a lawyer about red-taping their asses, too. I assume that since they simply hired him, and we had no signed agreement or real company, I've no legs to stand on. But could I just annoy them via lawsuit threats for a while?
But maybe also someone will have some cool advice for letting go or avenging this seriously horrific backstabbing. Besides "let it fester until it eats away at your soul," because I won't do that!