I've been developing a software and am now bringing in additional people to the project, who want to work on it for a share of future profit.
I founded a company (currently an LLC) to host this project, and am ready to begin the patent process, but I have a few questions first:
How (basically) can I divide ownership of any intellectual property that I plan to patent through the company, so that different people have different guaranteed shares of all future value coming from this new software?
How much money (USD) might I typically need to spend patenting intellectual property?
How do I begin? Typically, how does one seek out local legal expertise for a patent process? I'm new to my area and don't know of any patent lawyers.
- How can I protect this IP from being stolen by members of the venture or their associates in the mean time? If someone were to attempt to patent this today, could I challenge the patent by proving prior ownership of detailed documentation on the subject?
This is all in regards to the US patent & legal system.