IP: Maintain property over source code


I have code of mine, developed before joining the company as a co-founder, that I used for the company product (website) but want to retain the copyright and all IP rights to it and to be able to use it in other personal or commercial projects outside of the company. This code does not represent the core functionalities of the product.

How can I do it?

Related: Side projects while being a co-founder and officer of a company One solution would be to license the software to the company. A more in-depth question on this approach is asked here: Licensed software and due diligence: sufficient?

Co-Founder Legal Copyright Intellectual Property

asked Apr 1 '12 at 12:32
29 points
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  • 1. Why would you want to do that? Sounds like a bad way to start a partnership. 2. Have the other co-founders agreed to this? 3. If you developed this code for the startup you are joining, and had no prior agreement, it may be too late. 4. Where are you located? – Zuly Gonzalez 11 years ago
  • @ZulyGonzalez The code was developed before joining the company. It is something like a generic framework, that can be used to build different websites. The other partners were not asked about it yet. – Jj. 11 years ago

2 Answers


Your best bet is going to be talking with a lawyer that specializes in IP and Copyrights, I'm sure they can help you come up with some sort of contract and help you navigate through the issue.

answered Apr 1 '12 at 17:44
136 points


By definition, any grant of rights that are less than ownership is the grant of a license. Accordingly, you need a license agreement (assuming that the company agrees to have the rights of a licensee rather than ownership).

Please note that although the license agreement need not be long, preparing it is not a do-it-yourself project, in that if you are not familiar with license agreements, it is unlikely that you can draft license provisions properly.

Disclaimer: This information does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

answered Apr 3 '12 at 03:02
Dana Shultz
6,015 points

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Co-Founder Legal Copyright Intellectual Property