Can I sue if a business partner takes ideas from a business we both created and implements it into their own business while scrapping ours?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can I sue if a business partner takes ideas from a business we both created and implements it into their own business while scrapping ours?

Started a business idea and took it to local investors/business owners. We split
my idea equally. I spent hundreds of hours on the idea and created the
foundation. They want to cancel the business as a brand and just implement all
the ideas and assets to their business they had previously. This entails them
making me an employee for them under their business and losing all percentages I
owned of the brand I created. Now I own zero percent and they are still using all
my assets. If they end up firing me for pressuring the issue, can I sue?

Asked on September 24, 2019 under Business Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Did you have any sort of confidentiality or other contract that prevented them from taking and using this idea for their own benefit? If you did, you can sue them for breaching the agreement, to get compensation and/or a court order barring them from doing this.
Without a contract though, ideas as are not protected, and anyone you disclose an idea to, including someone you were going to work with, can take the idea and develop or use it themself.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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