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Do we have any legal protections?
Of course you do. Everyone has legal protections. What you describe and the UT mail shows a situation that is much more complex that simply filing incorporation documents with the State of Texas. However, until (all three of you consult with attorneys and who can understand the total business operation, you will not be able to reduce that written memo to a legal agreement. For now, it appears that you are being paid for specific services rendered, and equity participation has only been suggested for future consideration. There is only a vague outline of an intention to form a business organization together with equity sharing. There is very little that could form the basis of a lawsuit claiming equity participation in whatever venture it is that you are now working together. The founder has laid out certain options. You will have to consult local business attorneys to see if there are others that you might pursue at this point.
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