I am in a very unusual spot and seeking some clarity from those who really know this stuff.
So I had an idea about a software product for about 2 years.
I hired multiple freelancers but failed to get anywhere because the freelancers couldn’t find a solution to the problem I am trying to solve technically.
One freelancer came really close to the solution but my trusted friend suggested that I should show the code to his friend and get his opinion as he too is a developer.
So I explained the problem I am working on, the idea of the product and the code that I have from this freelancer that I hired to this friend’s friend (let's call him Mr A).
I shared all this info with Mr A without an NDA because he was recommended by my friend who is a very trusted person.
Mr A looked at the code and said it won't work. He also mentioned that he can try and find a solution for this problem himself.
So we had a meeting and discussed the terms if Mr A is able to find a solution to the problem by writing code that can solve the problem.
We agreed to be partners and launch this product to the marketplace with equal ownership (50-50).
My responsibility was design, support and marketing while Mr A would do the development.
And with that Mr A starts writing the code while I work on other parts.
A couple of weeks go by and MR A is hitting roadblocks and starts to complain about how hard this problem is.
I kept encouraging him and showed a lot of patience as I know how hard the problem is.
A couple of months later he finally solved the problem as he found a way to do it.
As soon as he has solved the problem, his demeanour shifts completely.
Now he wants me to sign an NDA and also he casually mentions that he had this idea before and it's not a new idea.
When we met initially he did not mention any of these things.
Also, I am sharing info with him as well which is why I asked him for a bilateral NDA but that was also refused as he only wants to do unilateral NDA with me since he believes code is proprietary while other parts of the business that I am going to share with him (marketing strategies, business secrets etc) are not.
And now he also suggests that the launch that we both are going to be part of needs to hit a certain amount of sales ($100k) otherwise he should be able to take this idea + code elsewhere and launch it on his own (and should own 100%) even though we initially agreed to be 50-50 partners.
So here is my question to those who really know this stuff,
Do I really have no rights here? Because Mr A keeps saying that legally I have no rights because he owns the IP to the code because he wrote it and I am free to consult a lawyer (which I am going to soon).
However I believe that I shared the idea and initial code (even though it was not used), I should be the equal owner of this (as it was agreed initially) because we had a verbal.
What would you suggest I should do in this situation? Or better yet, what would you do if you were facing this issue?
Do I really have no rights here as Mr A says?