Could Your Business Lose Its Name in Pennsylvania?

Many corporations, LLC’s, LP’s, and other businesses registered to operate in Pennsylvania must take action this year to avoid losing the ownership of their name. Pennsylvania law requires something called a “Decennial Report” to be filed every 10 years with the Department of State. The report is filed in every year ending with the number “1”, so you’ve got until December 31, 2011 to get this year’s report in. A similar law also applies to registered marks and insignias so be sure to act to protect your logos as well.

Any business that fails to file a required decennial report loses the exclusive right to the ownership of its corporate name. In the case of a registered mark, when a business fails to file the mark becomes unregistered. Every January of a year ending in “2” we see poachers trying to appropriate the names of ongoing businesses to sell them as back. Make sure your business is not one of the unlucky ones by acting early and getting your filing done soon this year.

There are exemptions to this law, the biggest of which applies to businesses who have filed new or amended registrations with the Department of State since January 1, 2002.

If you’d like more information on whether you need to file this report, called the offices of Danziger Shapiro & Leavitt, PC at (215) 545-4830 and ask to meet with one of our attorneys who can guide you through the process. We also find that that while gathering information for the decennial report, we can use a lot of that information to start a 10 year review for your business. We’ll have more another post on suggestions for a 10 year review, but for now keep in mind that it’s a good time to go through your minute books and records, as well as checking to see if your assets are titled correctly, to make sure you’re not exposing your business to unnecessary risk, liability, or taxes.

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