Considering I am the founder of Instagram, it means I have written 100% of the application code by myself, then found an investor and they put some money into the startup and got 30% of the new established company's shares.

Then I decided to make some modifications and change some of the ideas and create another app/company by only myself and name it TikTok! In this new application I may have used some of the codes from my previous app as they have lot of similarities and also the previous app is written by me and I don't know how to write a similar code in a different way! And obviously there are similar ideas between this new TikTok app and my previous Instagram application.

Another example would be the Uber. Maybe the founder of Uber comes up with a new idea "why shouldn't we also transfer food?" And wants to establish a new company and create UberEat application but under a new company and brand name and application name.

Is it possible for the investor of the first app suing me for using some similar codes or ideas to create my new app?

  • 3
    I’m voting to close this question because it is a legal question that doesn't pertain to personal finance.
    – littleadv
    Feb 16 at 4:49
  • @littleadv: Yes it's a law question but as it's also about business and startup companies, I thought it would be a good idea to hear more about this from the people who may have had similar experience or know about such a discussion between investors, etc. Feb 16 at 5:29
  • I like to know what do investors think about this? Is it a problem for them at all? Feb 16 at 5:30
  • 1
    There's no "similar" experience, what matters is the contracts that you sign, not someone else's experience
    – littleadv
    Feb 16 at 5:44
  • 2
    The copyright belongs to the Instagram company. They could sue you on behalf of Instagram for violating Instagram's copyright. But I think that would have to go through the CEO. If you're the CEO they may fire you. But if you're also the majority shareholder you won't agree to fire yourself. But they may sue you for breach of fiduciary duty. Probably. I'm not a lawyer so don't take my word seriously.
    – user253751
    Feb 16 at 16:44

1 Answer 1


An investor has what the contract gives them. The kind of rights you're thinking of would almost certainly not be included.

  • 1
    Generally no-one would invest without the company being invested in retaining ownership over the infrastructure it created and uses. If someone invests in the next tiktok they would not want to pour money just to see the founders take that code, rebrand it and re-spin it again. So yes, it would almost certainly yes be included.
    – littleadv
    Feb 16 at 16:38
  • I may have misunderstood the question,. My intent was to say that the rights remain with the company unless stated otherwise or negotiated separately. Anything the company creates is an asset of the company first.
    – keshlam
    Feb 16 at 22:46

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