Protecting Your Registered Business Name: Mandatory Decennial Filings in 2011

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The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania maintains a registry of entity names in use by corporations and associations registered in Pennsylvania. Corporations in Pennsylvania are required to use a name that is distinguishable from these names. Pennsylvania requires that each entity with a registered name file a report every ten years to show that it still exists (i.e., a decennial filing). The next decennial filing must be made on or before December 31, 2011, unless a registered entity qualifies for an exemption.

Exemptions from the Decennial Filing Requirement

There are three ways that a registered entity may be exempt from the decennial filing requirement. Other filing If an entity has made any filing other than the following between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2010, it is not required to make a decennial filing. If the only filing made within the last ten years was one of the following, this exemption does not apply:

-A prior decennial filing. A late decennial filing (i.e., one made after January 1, 2002), despite having been made within the last ten years, will not exempt an entity from the requirement to make a 2011 decennial filing.

-Reservation of name. An application to merely reserve a name within the last ten years will not exempt an entity from making a 2011 decennial filing.

Nonqualified foreign business corporation A nonqualified foreign business corporation that has registered its name pursuant to 15 Pa. C.S. § 4131 does not need to make a decennial filing, since it is already required to renew its name annually.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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