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Do I "need" a company name for what I plan on doing?

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Hey,

If I plan on developing games by myself, should I have a company name to mark those games with? I'm not attempting to start a business and hire employees, but rather just develop smaller games to work up some experience and mostly attempt to "make what I feel like making". For this kind of developer, would it be good to mark my games with a company name before releasing them (if I get to that point), and if so, what are the necessary steps/precautions to take?

In the future, I might also want to make a website for the 'company' and to write about development of whatever I'm working on, provide links/downloads for previously finished games, and so on. Anything I should know about doing something like that?

Pretty much, what I'm wondering is "would it be beneficial to have a company name marking your games even if you're developing alone?"

If so, I'm also curious as of how to choose the name, if it 'has' to be registered, how to tell if there is already a company/business with the name that might cause problems if I use it (though 'take it' might be a more appropriate choice of words). Would it help in the future to have a company name, website showcasing the games I've made, etc. if I were trying to, say, start a Kickstarter project for funding a particular game?

For a developer like me, would it be best to just mark games with a note that it was developed by me?

Sorry if this post is a 'noob' question. I'd try to search Google a bit more extensively for an answer, but I feel like the vets here at GameDev would be able to provide a more specific answer for me in particular.

Thanks for reading and any replies!
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Are you planning on selling your games? If so, look up the laws for [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sole_proprietorship"]sole proprietorships[/url] in your country -- this is where an individual person is engaged in trading under a business name (or under their real name). You'd probably have to at least pay an accountant to figure out your taxes.

In you're not selling your games, then there's probably not many legal loop holes to jump through. Brand them however you want, but simply do your best to ensure you're not accidentally using an existing brand name. Don't use ™'s anywhere, as you're not 'trading', and use your real name in any copyright disclaimers.
e.g.
Mr. G. HMP presents
A GHMP productions game
(C) 2012 Mr. G. HMP
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[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1331451640' post='4921065']
Are you planning on selling your games? If so, look up the laws for [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sole_proprietorship"]sole proprietorships[/url] in your country -- this is where an individual person is engaged in trading under a business name (or under their real name). You'd probably have to at least pay an accountant to figure out your taxes.

In you're not selling your games, then there's probably not many legal loop holes to jump through. Brand them however you want, but simply do your best to ensure you're not accidentally using an existing brand name. Don't use ™'s anywhere, as you're not 'trading', and use your real name in any copyright disclaimers.
e.g.
Mr. G. HMP presents
A GHMP productions game
© 2012 Mr. G. HMP
[/quote]
Thank you for the reply!

What about selling games via the Android Market, Steam, etc.? Will you simply have to adhere to the rules and such set up by those applications/websites?

If I wanted to make a splash screen show up when running the game, could I use my company name and logo/image and under that, put a copyright disclaimer like "© 2012 Mr. G. HMP"?
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[quote name='GHMP' timestamp='1331452692' post='4921067']
What about selling games via the Android Market, Steam, etc.? Will you simply have to adhere to the rules and such set up by those applications/websites?[/quote]
It doesn't matter how you sell them. If you make money you need to act in accordance with your country's tax and business laws.

[quote]If I wanted to make a splash screen show up when running the game, could I use my company name and logo/image and under that, put a copyright disclaimer like "© 2012 Mr. G. HMP"?
[/quote]
Yes, provided that name is not already being used as a trademark by another company/person.
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[quote name='Obscure' timestamp='1331561077' post='4921339']
[quote name='GHMP']
If I wanted to make a splash screen show up when running the game, could I use my company name and logo/image and under that, put a copyright disclaimer like "© 2012 Mr. G. HMP"?
[/quote]
Yes, provided that name is not already being used as a trademark by another company/person.
[/quote]

What are the various ways of finding out if a company/business is already using your name other than searching to see if a domain has been set up by the name you want?

Also, once you find a name that isn't being used already and you decide to use it, how do you assure it isn't used by anyone else?

Sorry about the abundant questions and thanks for your replies!
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[quote name='GHMP' timestamp='1331785455' post='4922164']
What are the various ways of finding out if a company/business is already using your name other than searching to see if a domain has been set up by the name you want?
Also, once you find a name that isn't being used already and you decide to use it, how do you assure it isn't used by anyone else?
[/quote]

You're not going to like the answer: ask an attorney. If you're going into business, you need an attorney.
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