How to Form a Club in California
Reserve a name for your corporations

Choosing and reserving a corporate name requires careful research. Naming your corporation is important and there are legal requirements to consider. Trademark law applies to nonprofits and you should choose a name that will not infringe on the rights of others. Your state will be able to tell you if your name is the same as, or confusingly similar to, any other corporation operating within the state but that does not mean you can necessarily use it.

Federal trademark law covers all states and should be considered when selecting a name. Often your name must include the term Incorporated, Corporation, Company or Club in full or abbreviated form. There are also specific words (i.e., bank, trust, trustee, cooperative, etc.) banned from being included in your name that refer to special types of corporations.

After you select a name that is available and not likely to infringe upon the rights of others, you can reserve the name until your filing is complete. You should do this before you prepare all of your documentation to prevent someone else from reserving your name while you are completing your paperwork. Often you can call or check for availability online to speed the process but some states do require you to write for information an confirmation.

You can also operate under a fictitious or assumed name by filing separate documents after you have established your corporation. Some organizations choose to do this as their corporate name is difficult to use in its full form. You must contact the city and/or county clerk and/or recorder where the principal place of business is located for information regarding filing or registering fictitious business names.

In California, a preliminary check of the availability of a corporate name can be made by mailing the Name Availability Inquiry Letter to the Secretary of State’s Office, 1500 11th St., Sacramento, CA 95814. Email inquiries are not accepted at this time.

A request to reserve a corporate name can be made over-the-counter at any Secretary of State office location or can be addressed in writing to the Sacramento office, Secretary of State, 1500 11th St., Sacramento, CA 95814. Fees and instructions for reserving a corporate name are included on the Name Reservation Request Form. Email requests for reservations are not accepted at this time. A name reservation is made for a period of 60 days, and can be renewed, but not for consecutive periods, to the same applicant or for the benefit of the same party.

Each Name Availability Inquiry Letter requires a $4 fee. Each Name Reservation Request Form requires a $10 fee. Since you can list up to three name choices on the Name Reservation Request Form, you may not need to do a Name Availability Inquiry Letter.

You can not use a name until you receive verification from the Secretary of State.

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This information is provided courtesty Pacific Rim Alliance,
a member of Los Angeles & San Diego Councils, FWSA and NSAA
last revised 17 October 2003 by A Cat Meowz Designz

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