Paperwork for buying out my co-founder


I've agreed with my co-founder to buy him out for a trivial sum and we'll go our separate ways. I'll let him do whatever he wants with the IP we've built. I just need to write up a formal document and get him to sign it. I need a good template though. Any thoughts?

Co-Founder Legal Documents

asked May 2 '10 at 05:44
Andrew Watson
36 points

3 Answers


This probably isn't the answer you're looking for, but I don't think this is something you want to do without the help of a lawyer. If it were me, I would find information online (and look at templates), but ultimately I would consult a lawyer before signing and finalizing anything.

Even if you both agree now, things could change in the future and you might end up losing a lot of money. I think paying a lawyer to look over your agreement will protect both of you. Maybe you can split the cost.

There's a couple of lawyers on this site, maybe they have some advice/suggestions.

answered May 2 '10 at 09:55
Zuly Gonzalez
9,194 points


"I'll let him do whatever he wants with the IP we've built." sounds very dangerous assuming you are buying him out because you too intend to move forward with the same or related IP. And frankly that sounds naive to me.

Write up a letter of intent that outlines what you and your co-founder have agreed to, and include that you agree to work out a formal legal agreement, have him sign that. Meanwhile get a lawyer to work this out.

answered May 3 '10 at 00:50
236 points
  • +1. If you're "buying him out" but he keeps the IP, what are you buying? – Jason 14 years ago
  • well, i get to use the name of the company, the bank accounts, API credentials, hosting accounts etc... I know it's a little naive but honestly the IP we developed is already becoming obsolete. I just want sole title to the brand so I can move forward with new IP and product development and was looking for a document template that would help me get that ball rolling. – Andrew Watson 14 years ago


I had a friend in a similar position. In his situation, he wasn't concerned that the other founder had rights to the IP because he knew that the partner wouldn't execute anyway and he was developing the IP a lot himself. After all, a good startup is all about execution.

However, I think that putting in the proviso that the IP couldn't be on-sold would be wise.

answered May 10 '10 at 20:45
Susan Jones
4,128 points

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Co-Founder Legal Documents