Ownership of Intellectual Property of a co-Founder


If I, by myself have programmed a website with a lot of contents,

I want to start a c-corp to run this website. I will own majority of the shares but there will also be a marketing person and a sales person owning some small percentage of shares.

The website is fully developed before the company is found, but I may add more content after the company found.

How to structure the company so that I own the intellectual properties (such as the programs and the content of the website) so that the other shareholders can only earn their shares of income but not the ownership of the contents, at least not the contents developed before the company is found?

Related question: How to the structure company so that in case of a bankrupt of the company, the creditors do not obtain the program and the contents (they can get the domain name which will be put under the company's name, but I want to retain the ownership of the contents)?

Co-Founder Incorporation Intellectual Property

asked Dec 4 '13 at 07:09
6 points

1 Answer


A setup typically found is to establish a separate legal entity which is the owner of the intellectual property, the brand and the domain name. This legal entity licenses the sales company for the use under specific terms you must negotiate to sublicense the intellectual property, brand and domain name. For this, the owning legal entity gets some money.
Depending on your jurisdiction, in case of a bankrupt rules may apply that can withdraw the IP from the other legal entity; make sure to consult a lawyer specialized in protecting IP (and brands).
When you start up in another country, just add another legal entity over there. This is the way Starbucks and others have their money floating in the sea somewhere :-)

answered Dec 5 '13 at 00:40
Guido Leenders
101 points

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Co-Founder Incorporation Intellectual Property