Starting New Business

by Adeelos. Posted on Sep 12, 2020    1    18


Based out of AZ, looking to start up a gaming studio with some friends. We've settled on our company name, we have a domain, and we've registered our DBA.

I know we still need to register our trademark, but is there anything else we need to cover in the run-up to being a real business? None of us have any significant experience in the world of making a business, and I want to make sure I'm not missing any steps before we've managed to get off the ground.

USPTO also recommends we get an attorney to move through the trademark process. Any recommendations? The last few agencies I tried contacting seemed to be well rated, but they kind of blew me off and gave me the run around while I was trying to get a quote for their services, and I just want to make sure I'm investing in something valuable to us instead of burning cash.

Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!


Comments

Lloydwrites 1

Having a trademark and registering that trademark are different things. You don't need to register you trademark right away. Right now, your trademark has no value. You're wondering how much to spend on a safe that has nothing in it.

Worry about your product design, development, and production.

cotnerpro 1

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nimble_fox 1

You need an operating agreement which spells out who does what, how you distribute ownership, responsibilities, breach, if someone quits or doesn't fulfill their obligations.

Its the first time for hard conversations and to lay down expectations for each member and is the first real negotiation. You'll find who is serious and who isn't very quickly.

Best of luck

  Adeelos 1

Besides the NDA we worked out, we have a rough document where ownership and responsibilities are laid out, though to that end, I'm curious if that's enough or if I need something more "legalese". Can you expand on that thought?

nimble_fox 2

Sure, what if someone with shares dies? Quits and leaves the company? Who owns the company and how much? How do you vote? Resolve dispute? What if you want to bring a new partner, how.much will their shares be worth? What if someone wants to leave and start a competing business? How will money be dispersed or paid out and at what rate/intervals? Have you agreed how often you'll review the PNL/balance sheet with all partners? What about day to day operations and sales? Who manages that and how?

What if someone doesn't meet their agreement, what rights do the other partners have? I suggest looking up examples online.

Best of luck

BL_SH 2

Don't forget to register your LLC, and to get your business license for both city and state.

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You'll need an EIN.

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I've had good luck finding trademark attorneys on upwork.

CCC_PLLC 3

As an attorney, I’ll reiterate what others have said that by far the biggest risk you’ll face is not having a solid operating agreement that governs your relationship with your business partner. Trademarks are usually useless until after you become successful. But, if a trademark is really important to you I can certainly help.

  Adeelos 1

How expensive is it typically to have an attorney help us lay out the operating agreement? I've mentioned elsewhere that we have a rough overview of all this, but it's far from what I'd consider a formal document.

CCC_PLLC 2

It depends on how much back and forth and negotiating you want to do. Could be as low as $500

  Adeelos 1

Good to know. Would you be able to expand as far as your thoughts on the trademark and its usefulness? Most things I've read recommend registering it as early as possible (or at least submitting an "intent-to-use") to avoid potential problems later. The games we're making we're hoping to launch in more than just our home state, so I assumed that might lend extra importance to it given the national protection a trademark offers, to my understanding

CCC_PLLC 1

A trademark might be important to you, I’d have to chat more with you to learn more about your business.

chrisldavis 3

Why do you want a trademark? Are you afraid someone is going to take your name? You've already registered your DBA, so you have protection within your own state. Since you already own the domain, it's doubtful anyone would want the name.

You're probably getting blown off because they think you're a tire-kicker since your business isn't generating any income yet.

  Adeelos 1

Concerns over the name have come up. We've all read one too many horror stories about this stuff coming back to bite new businesses later (provided they're successful enough to see continued growth), so I couldn't deny that it's perhaps a knee-jerk reaction. Like I mentioned earlier most of us are pretty green in the start-up area and aren't sure what we do (or don't) need.

If our product is something we wanted to sell outside the state, would it not need the trademark protections at that point?

chrisldavis 1

I don't think so, but then I have a high tolerance for risk. I've been starting, selling, and closing businesses for 40 years and I've never felt the need for a trademark.

Why do you think your business name must be unique nation-wide?

I'll give you an example. One local business that is growing amazingly fast (and where my son and two sons-in-law work) is called "Nova Tech". Google that business and you'll find there are literally dozens of businesses named "Nova Tech". Nobody cares. It hasn't hurt the local company one bit, and they have customers world-wide and have offices in the USA, France, and China.

Shirtman88 2

I’ll 2nd that you probably don’t need a trademark. Focus your money and resources on getting the business running and making money

GearsNimports 6

I know you probably won’t like this answer, but I think starting a business with multiple friends is a bad idea. It often leads to broken friendships. If you guys are serious about it, then there needs to be very in depth communication about pay scales, who contributes what, and what happens if growth occurs.

Again I hate to be the guy beating a dead horse, but going into business with a bunch of your friends sounds like a great idea when you’re shooting the shit. But when buddy A sees he’s only getting paid 50k when buddy B is making 100k, then the monster that is burned bridges is awoken

  Adeelos 1

We've already been working together on the concept for the past two years (and have been collaborating on personal projects for the past four, which is how this even started) and reviewed most of these concerns when we started getting more serious, so I'm not terribly worried on the straining front.

Thank you for the advice, however - I do intend to circle back on this subject again once I have a better idea of what else we have left to make sure we're all up-to-speed.

GearsNimports 1

Hey as long as you guys are having the tough discussions and hammering down on it. Best of luck in your ventures!