The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutras community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
If your goal is to create an ongoing business in the game development field, it is a smart move to do some serious prep work up front. This includes consulting with professionals, who can help you on the areas of business that do not concern the actual software development.
An accountant, an SEO or social media expert and an attorney can do wonders for a burgeoning game business. They can also help to prevent many errors that can cost money and time in the long run.
Here are three reasons that a lawyer should be consulted prior to starting the business:
Reason 1 – Avoiding branding problems before they appear:
An attorney should be given a brainstormed list of branding options (for both the company and the game) prior to buying a web domain or starting any marketing efforts. The lawyer may also be able to assist in a trademark search that can eliminate those names that don’t work. This can be because they are already taken or because they are generic or otherwise weak trademarks.
Reason 2 – Free consultations:
Many attorneys offer free consultations, where a general plan can be laid out for how to form and protect the company and the game through business entities, IP registration and contracts. This birds-eye view of the situation can be extremely helpful to get a full picture of the legal situation. The best part is that there is usually no cost, you get an idea of what the costs could be, and you’ve made a great contact for getting these legal needs fulfilled in the future.
Reason 3 – Get the terms of your collaborations in writing before you start:
I’ve written before about how important it is to get agreements in writing. A lawyer can help prevent or deal with any issues that may arise between partners, independent contractors or other collaborative parties before they come up. Without these deals in writing, whether through corporate bylaws, independent contractor deals or non-disclosure agreements, “words are wind” (to quote George R. R. Martin).
There are more, of course, like having an attorney do your negotiating for you to project a more professional appearance. Hopefully, these are reason enough to enlist the help of professionals on your team and get your new game development company off on the right foot.
If you are interested in a free consultation, feel free to contact a game lawyer to set one up. If you want to get a better understanding of the legal issues that govern game development, check out my free eBook here!