State-level trademark and service mark registrations are filed and approved by state corporation departments.
The corporate departments in the state are called the “Corporations Department”, “Corporations Division” or “Corporations Division”, depending on the state they are in. The Secretary of State oversees the department, which is the legal guardian of all corporations and other business entities formed and registered in the state. If the public needs access to corporate records, state corporate departments have the authority and capacity to deliver sealed certificates and copies of corporate files that the department requires and maintains.
If the public needs access to corporate records, state corporation departments have the authority and capacity to deliver sealed certificates and copies of corporate files.
The primary duty and responsibility of state corporation departments is to license business activities in the state and maintain records. All forms of business are licensed by the departments, including non-profit corporations and foreign corporations doing business in the state. A secondary function of some SOE departments is to regulate financial transactions, such as the exchange of securities. Companies that sell certain financial products and services are also regulated, including financial planners and securities dealers. Some states do not have regulatory powers but are solely responsible for record keeping.
State-level trademark and service mark registrations are filed and approved by state corporation departments. Business owners can protect their trademark by registering it with the state. In a trademark infringement lawsuit, this will be key evidence to prove who owns the trademark. A business owner can also register a fictitious business name with the department.
Some states allow companies to designate the Secretary of State as the agent to receive a process service. If someone files a lawsuit against the company, they can file a claim with the corporation department. The department will, in turn, send a copy of the complaint to the company’s last known address.
Many state corporation departments allow the public to search for company records and company names on the websites they maintain. Startup companies can check the website to see if the company name is used by another company in the state. Companies can also pay and file annual reports and filings required by state law, depending on the type of business. Companies can lose their “good reputation” in a state if they fail to meet their annual filing requirements. Some departments allow a business owner to pay any corporation tax owed.
Departments of state corporations often provide valuable resources and information on their websites that can be helpful when planning a business. The name lookup function is usually available online, but employees can also look up the availability of a company name for a fee.