Can you lawfully take over a company if someone steals your idea and they sign a document prior to you revealing your idea


If you hire somebody to develop a product for you, and they take the credit and the idea and make a success out of it, is it possible to have them sign a document stating that if they steal the idea, they have to sign the company over to you before you reveal the idea to them?

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asked Oct 24 '11 at 06:09
Michael Grigsby
111 points
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2 Answers


You are worrying about the wrong issues. Read this for a longer explanation.

The deal you suggest is about as invalid as the alleged deal between Mark Zuckerberg and the guy who asked for 1% for each day of delay on delivery of the initial code base...

If you hire a contractor to code your site, the code will be owned by you, and if the other person steals it, you can sue them and get damages (no, you can't take over their company, but damages would achieve the same result).

answered Oct 24 '11 at 07:22
Alain Raynaud
10,927 points
  • The contract with the contractor must say that you own the code that the contractor writes. Otherwise, the contractor owns it. – Kekito 12 years ago
  • This is very much location dependent. In the US, by default contractors own the work as they are the author. It has to be "work made for hire" for ownership to transfer. – Chris Lively 12 years ago
  • I can't think of any half-decent contractor agreement that would NOT include a provision that the resulting code is owned by the person who paid for the work. – Alain Raynaud 12 years ago


That is unusual, but you could put anything you want in a contract. You should do research on NDA/ Non-Disclosure Agreements. There are also confidentiality and non-compete agreements as well.

If you are serious though talk to a lawyer.

answered Oct 25 '11 at 06:56
376 points

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