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Name Licensing and Consulting Fees

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Hi there,

I’m a newbie and not even a programmer. Your programming talents and work ethic have earned my utmost respect.

I don’t know if I’ve even chosen the correct gamedev forum and if I have not please accept my apology in advance. If I have wandered off in the wrong direction, could you please suggest a more apropos forum for these concerns? I’d be very appreciative.

I’m working on a project where I’m not sure what the going rates or even sliding scale might be so I would very much appreciate your thoughts, suggestions and questions.

My project will be licensing the use of the name of a small, not widely known company. That company will not be involved in the operations of the phone app/game but I will be consulting with the small company owners to better understand how their assets work.

I’ve never helped develop a phone app or game and the small company owners have no experience with such an animal which is far afield from what their company does.

We’re wondering what might be the going rate (or at least a range) for a licensing fee for the use of their small company name for the phone app/game as well as what would be the going rate (range) for consulting fees to better understand how their assets work?

I hope I haven’t been too cryptic.

I would very much appreciate your thoughts and direction on these two concerns.

Thank you so much for all your help and understanding.

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"Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it."
-Publilius Syrus

This is something that you really have to negotiate with the small company. Who pays who and what price depends on your negotiating skills and the leverage you can use.

IMHO, the main reason people license a trademark/name is because it already has name brand recognition so you can piggy back off of its reknown to give your product a marketing boost. If the name isn't very well known, then you could argue that your product is a form of marketing and the other company should be sponsoring you...

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Hi slayemin,

I do agree with you that the benefit of licensing a name is that name recognition. Users will pay more attention to a new app/game if it has a recognizable name e.g. Intel attached to it than Joe's Messenger. This small company has come up with a clever name for their business and although it does not have national or even major local presence it is eye catching so I want to be fair to them with their creativity.

I just haven't found anywhere I can even guesstimate what a name use license fee might be. I certainly don't want to pay the same rate for a name like SONY but I also want to be fair in respecting their creativity ...I just don't know how to properly value that!

The other issue is paying a consulting fee to consult with them about their assets. I have no idea what fee ranges are or where to research them. If you have any further thoughts, I'd appreciate them.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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It is a rather extensive topic that cannot readily be handled in forum posts.

There are many books on how to compute business value, and also books on how to negotiate business transactions. I suspect your local library will have several.

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Hi Tom,

Thank you for your e-mail that you are relocating my message to... Moving this to Business/Law.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The topic can be found here: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/621371-name-licensing-and-consulting-fees/unread/

However, when I click that link it just takes me back to where I originally posted my question and saw 2 responses.

Is there another forum my message is now located in? e.g. Business/Law
If so, how can I follow any responses to my question in that forum?

Thanks so much.

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Hi slayemin,

I do agree with you that the benefit of licensing a name is that name recognition. Users will pay more attention to a new app/game if it has a recognizable name e.g. Intel attached to it than Joe's Messenger. This small company has come up with a clever name for their business and although it does not have national or even major local presence it is eye catching so I want to be fair to them with their creativity.

I just haven't found anywhere I can even guesstimate what a name use license fee might be. I certainly don't want to pay the same rate for a name like SONY but I also want to be fair in respecting their creativity ...I just don't know how to properly value that!

The other issue is paying a consulting fee to consult with them about their assets. I have no idea what fee ranges are or where to research them. If you have any further thoughts, I'd appreciate them.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


I'm a bit naive about this stuff, but I don't think there is a mathematical function which will generate licensing fees. Some companies will make up arbitrary fees, some will do everything they can to protect their branding, some won't settle for anything, etc.
So, what you have to figure out is the answers to two questions:
1. What do you get out of using someone elses trademark/brand/name? (list)
2. What do they get out of your usage of their trademark/brand/name? (list)
Then, assess the value (may be negative!) of each list item (guesstimate) and create a ratio between what you get and what they get. Some arrangements are mutually beneficial. Some arrangements are only beneficial to one party. Some arrangements are more beneficial to one party than another. If they're going to charge you a consulting fee to meet with them, then you should factor that as a negative cost to you so that it can factor into your overall ratio. At the end of the day, you have to look and see if the benefits outweigh the costs.

Personally, I would just say "Screw it! I'll make my own name!". If the only thing this company has going for them is a creative name/logo design, but they have no market presense, you really wouldn't gain anything out of using their name. I'd actually consider challenging them to sponsor you as a form of advertising their brand instead of paying them a fee (but, you may have already let the cat out of the bag by letting on that you'd be willing to pay them, so that's going to reduce your negotiating leverage). But, you also want to be careful about this because marketing departments usually want to manage how their brand is presented so they may want some influence or say in how you present their brand. Would you be okay with that? If you do a bit of research into trademark law, I'm sure you can figure out just how much you can get away with in terms of copying an existing brand without risking litigation. "Similar" may be good enough and it won't cost you a penny in licensing.

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Hi slayemin,

I think you offer some thoughtful reflection.

The small business company has more than just a name and does have a presence locally although not on the level of name recognition like a national company. They have been in business many years and are well respected for their high quality work.

Having worked n their field many years, they have unique insight to their business and operations which is valuable in developing my phone app.

Having said that I have no idea if their company name will resonate with those using phone apps or playing PC games. It may or it may not. You never know about entertainment. Some ideas seem great and fall flat with users/audience and others which you don't give a second thought to become household names.

I just don't know where you would ascertain going rates for use of name licensing and/or consulting fees. I'm sure William Morris and large corporate licensing departments would know but I don't have access to either.

Thank you so much for your thoughts.

Very appreciated.

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Hi Tom,

Thank you for your e-mail that you are relocating my message to... Moving this to Business/Law.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The topic can be found here: http://www.gamedev.n...ng-fees/unread/

However, when I click that link it just takes me back to where I originally posted my question and saw 2 responses.

Is there another forum my message is now located in? e.g. Business/Law
If so, how can I follow any responses to my question in that forum?

Thanks so much.


I didn't email you. It must have been an automatic notification from gamedev.
It appears that you have somehow found your way here! (^_^)

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