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coderWalker

Company name

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When I put my game online for purchase.

Should I come up with a game company name?

Would it be fine to put it up under just my name?

Should I make a company name? (to make it look more professional)

How do I register the name so noone else can use it?


I know nothing about business law. So meny people have told me different things.
The most common being "If you made it it's already copyrighted by you", which I think is not true?

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You're asking a question about trademarks, but people are giving you the answer to a common copyright question.
Assuming you don't have money to pay for a lawyer, why don't you visit your local SBA office and get free questions. http://www.sba.gov
(Assuming you live in the USA.)

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[quote name='coderWalker' timestamp='1298333045' post='4777305']
Should I come up with a game company name?[/quote]
This depends on local law where you are. You should talk to an accountant.

[quote]Would it be fine to put it up under just my name?[/quote]
In many places this is fine (but see above) and it is a matter of choice. However, if you are making money, most locations require that you either register a company or at least register as self-employed with the tax authorities. There are differences in relation to tax and expenses between trading as an individual or trading as a company - you should talk to an accountant to find out what these are. If this is your first game the likelihood is that you wont make much/any money and so registering a company is an unnecessary expense.

[quote]Should I make a company name? (to make it look more professional)[/quote]
If you want this to be a long term venture then you can do.

[quote]How do I register the name so noone else can use it?[/quote]
A company name is considered a Trademark and in most countries you get automatic protection under trademark law when you start using a name/logo to trade. You get more/better protection if you register that trademark with your local Trademark office but, given you are just starting out it probably isn't worth the cost yet.

[quote]The most common being "If you made it it's already copyrighted by you", which I think is not true?
[/quote]
If "it" is a game then it is true. Copyright protection is automatic.

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[quote]If "it" is a game then it is true. Copyright protection is automatic. [/quote]

So when I put my game on-line and someone steals the idea or game. I can tell them to stop, and if they don't I can sue them?
There's no need to go to a patent trademark or copyright office?

Just double checking.

The moment I put my game on-line I can put under it © coderwalker ?
Is something else required before I start putting © coderwalker ?

I am in NC US and no, no start-up capitol what-so-ever for it. It being a game.

Most people use company.com and company games. Am I allowed
to say Coby Walker Games or would that be a trademark I don't have
registered?

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[quote name='coderWalker' timestamp='1298400503' post='4777628']
So when I put my game on-line and someone steals the idea or game. I can tell them to stop, and if they don't I can sue them?[/quote]
No, ideas can't be protected, which is why we have Command and Conquer and Warcraft - both the same idea, just a different implementation of the idea.
The game itself is protected. If someone uses the code or graphics or sound or makes a direct copy (say on another format) that is copyright infringement and you can sue....
If you have the $100,000+ it will cost to pay an intellectual copyright lawyer to fight the case for you. There are a few cheaper things you can do prior to going to court but if you have to go to court it will be expensive.

[quote]There's no need to go to a patent trademark or copyright office?[/quote]
You don't have too but (in some countries) you gain extra protection by registering copyright or trademark. However this all costs money and if your game never makes any money it is pretty pointless to pay out for extra protection that will be worthless.

[quote]The moment I put my game on-line I can put under it © coderwalker ?[/quote]
Only if that is your real name or the name of a registered company. Only a legal entity can hold copyright

[quote]Most people use company.com and company games. Am I allowed
to say Coby Walker Games or would that be a trademark I don't have
registered?[/quote]
You are confusing domain names and trademarks. They aren't the same thing.

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[quote name='coderWalker' timestamp='1298400503' post='4777628']
[quote]If "it" is a game then it is true. Copyright protection is automatic. [/quote]

So when I put my game on-line and someone steals the idea or game. I can tell them to stop, and if they don't I can sue them?
There's no need to go to a patent trademark or copyright office?

Just double checking.

The moment I put my game on-line I can put under it © coderwalker ?
Is something else required before I start putting © coderwalker ?

I am in NC US and no, no start-up capitol what-so-ever for it. It being a game.

Most people use company.com and company games. Am I allowed
to say Coby Walker Games or would that be a trademark I don't have
registered?
[/quote]

Copyright is automatic, you don't even have to put a copyright notice anymore (Allthough in the US it used to be required and it is possible that it will help you defend your rights in some jurisdictions (ask a lawyer)), defending your copyright however is expensive, copyright does not cover ideas and ideas can not be stolen (You don't have exclusive ownership of your ideas unless you keep them to yourself, and even then other people have the right to come up with the same ideas (and most likely someone allready has come up with the very same idea as you and either didn't consider it to be good enough or didn't have the skill/resources required to pull it off)), it never hurts to make it clear who the copyrightholder is since works with an unclear copyright status is a pain in the ass for everyone.

You don't have to register a trademark, however registering your trademark will help you protect it, for an indie developer the costs involved in defending a trademark probably isn't worth it, registering might be worthwhile depending on its cost just to make your name listed in a commonly searched trademark database (alot of developers will search the us trademark database to avoid problems) but having your game reasonably well known will be protection enough against honest mistakes.

I don't know about the US but in sweden its perfectly fine to do business as an individual but taxation is a bit more problematic since any revenue will be taxed as income and you can't make tax deductions for private expenses (thus if you have $90.000 in expenses and get $100.000 in revenue you'd pay income tax on the $100.000 as an individual while as a company you'd only pay tax on the $10.000 profit) (It is possible to do software development without any significant expenses other than your own time though)

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Unless you have the money to pay for a lawyer you aren't really protected. But yes, copyright is granted automagically since it is a work created by you (the copyright holder). Trademark law, however, is very [i]very[/i] different and requires registration, validation and (possibly) a fee or another. Same goes for registering as a business.
Anyhow, if you are [i]serious[/i] about protecting your game then you should go over these things with a business lawyer and see what they have to say. They are the guys who know this stuff and aren't just talking out of their ass (or well, hopefully they aren't talking out of their ass... ;)).

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[quote name='SimonForsman' timestamp='1298462670' post='4777916']
you don't even have to put a copyright notice anymore (Allthough in the US it used to be required and it is possible that it will help you defend your rights in some jurisdictions (ask a lawyer)), [/quote]
Putting a copyright notice does help (if you can afford to take legal action) as it prevents the infringing party from claiming "I didn't know it was copyright, I thought it was public domain" - even if they made such a claim they would lose an infringement claim, but if you have a notice then it basically proves that they wilfully (knowingly) infringed your copyright and the compensation you can get is greater.

[quote name='DarklyDreaming' timestamp='1298463200' post='4777918']
Trademark law, however, is very [i]very[/i] different and requires registration, validation and (possibly) a fee or another.[/quote]
Actually this is incorrect. Trademark protection, like Copyright, is automatic and doesn't require registration. However, if you register it is much easier to pursue a claim for infringement and the compensation you can get is greater.

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[quote name='Obscure' timestamp='1298475536' post='4777986']
[quote name='DarklyDreaming' timestamp='1298463200' post='4777918']
Trademark law, however, is very [i]very[/i] different and requires registration, validation and (possibly) a fee or another.[/quote]
Actually this is incorrect. Trademark protection, like Copyright, is automatic and doesn't require registration. However, if you register it is much easier to pursue a claim for infringement and the compensation you can get is greater.
[/quote]
So I can use "Coby Walker Games" with no legal issues?

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[quote name='coderWalker' timestamp='1299026833' post='4780777']
[quote name='Obscure' timestamp='1298475536' post='4777986']
[quote name='DarklyDreaming' timestamp='1298463200' post='4777918']
Trademark law, however, is very [i]very[/i] different and requires registration, validation and (possibly) a fee or another.[/quote]
Actually this is incorrect. Trademark protection, like Copyright, is automatic and doesn't require registration. However, if you register it is much easier to pursue a claim for infringement and the compensation you can get is greater.
[/quote]
So I can use "Coby Walker Games" with no legal issues?
[/quote]
There's always legal risk.

If you've searched for the mark in use -- not just typed it into Google one time , but really searched including using online trademark searches, company name searches, and searching for variations on the name or theme -- then you will have minimal risk.

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