What to do if a friend and I formed a business to produce snacks to sell in grocery stores but behind my back he formed his own company and is using my recipes?

UPDATED: Oct 18, 2014

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 18, 2014Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if a friend and I formed a business to produce snacks to sell in grocery stores but behind my back he formed his own company and is using my recipes?

My job was to provide the recipes; his job to handle the business end of things. We met regularly to fine tune the recipes. Last week we were ready to go. That’s when he informed me that our company no longer exists anf that he’s started up his own company in which he’s going to use my recipes (he’s going to change one tiny thing in each recipe) and keep all profits for himself. Can I sue him for this? Also, both of us were to put in $100 to start the company but he never cashed my check. Does this mean we even had a partnership? Is this evidence of his manipulation that will allow me to sue him? And now he says he’s going to sue me for money owed. Is that possible?

Asked on October 18, 2014 under Business Law, Colorado


Edward Carlstead / The Carlstead Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor


Here are some possible claims you may have: breach of partnership agreement, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of duty of loyalty, misappropriation of trade secrets, interference with prospective business advantage, conversion, and breach of contract.  That all sounds very fancy but it is just a way of saying your partner shafted you out of the business you and he agreed to undertake together.  The law imposes on partners the highest degree of fidelity to one another, so what he did appears very wrong.  Of course, in all these matters, the amount of your damages is really what drives the remedy.  How much are your recipes really worth?  How unique are they?  How much money could you two reasonably expect to make?  A lawsuit over all this could be quite expensive for both of you.  Perhaps your better course of action is to forget about this guy and find a more reliable partner or go it alone.  The recipes are yours and he should not be able to stop you from using them.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption