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The site policy on company submissions has always been to use whatever has a logo on the box. This rule has helped to keep things simple for the uninitiated and maintain a semblance of clarity where database management is concerned. With brand names, subsidiaries, assumed names, not to mention all the merges and name changes companies undergo every year, it can get hectic.
This guide is intended to help the uninitiated understand what the company "types" mean and give definition to things like "subsidiaries" and "brands".
Note: This guide is geared primarily toward US standards and business definitions. Many US terms for businesses do not have an equivalent in many parts of the world or mean something else entirely. For example, a publisher is the same thing as an author, editor, or society for many French, Spanish or Russian publishers. This looks misleading to anyone in the US where a publisher, author, editor, or society mean very different and distinct things.
Not all countries use the same publisher model that the US does either, making some companies a bit tricky to enter into the database. For example, doujin circles can be one single person, a small group of two or three, or a large collective of 20+. Normally we would consider something like this to be 'self-published', but many use doujin labels to publish under. In Japan, it is extremely common for amateur groups to publish like this, with 95% of games being from doujin circles. Despite being amateur, they are hugely professional, producing very high quality products.
Subsidiaries & Parent/Holding Companies
A subsidiary or daughter company, is a company that is owned or controlled by another company, known as the parent company or holding company. Subsidiaries are a common feature of businesses.
Subsidiaries are controlled by their parent/holding company, but are separate, distinct legal entities from their parent/holding company for the purposes of taxation, regulation, and liability. For this reason, they differ from divisions, which are businesses fully integrated within the main company, and not legally or otherwise distinct from it.
A division, sometimes called a business sector, is one of several parts into which a business, organization or company is divided. If these divisions are all part of the same company, then that company is legally responsible for all of the obligations and debts of the divisions. Large organizations may have divisions run by different subsidiaries, or divisions that include one or more subsidiaries.
A division may operate under a separate name and become the equivalent of a corporation or limited liability company by obtaining a DBA certificate and operating a business under that fictitious name.
A brand acts as an identity through the use of a unique name, design, set of imagery, a slogan, vision, etc. A brand's attributes are a set of labels with which a company wishes to be associated. A "brand" can generate "Brand awareness" which involves a customers' ability to recall and/or recognize brands, logos and branded advertising.
A brand is not really a company, but an identity. Brand owners may have one or more different companies publishing under the same brand name/logo.
DBA / Trade Name
A company may choose to do business under a different name. To do this, the company usually has to file what's know as a DBA, an abbreviation for "doing business as". A DBA is also known as a "fictitious business name", "trade name" or "assumed name". All types of businesses can use a DBA, sole proprietorships, LLCs, corporations, partnerships, etc and the company can use the secondary name to open bank accounts, write checks, or enter contracts.
Dōjin Groups / Circles
In many areas of Japan and some areas of Asia, it is common for amateur groups to publish their own games under the name/label of their circle. They may even obtain all needed legal rights to publish games that belong to other publishers.
A limited liability company, abbreviated LLC, is a form of a private limited company. It is a business structure that combines the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability of a corporation. An LLC is not a corporation; it is a legal form of a company that provides limited liability to its owners in many jurisdictions. LLCs do not need to be organized for profit.Foreign Equivalents:
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