Sec. 21003 - Names That Are Likely to Mislead the Public

ยง 21003. Names That Are Likely to Mislead the Public

Without limiting the discretion of the Secretary of State to determine that a name is likely to mislead the public, a proposed name is likely to mislead the public in the following circumstances:

(a) If the proposed name creates a false implication of government affiliation.

(1) A proposed name may imply a government affiliation if the proposed name contains the recognized name or abbreviation of a city, county, state, country, region or recognized subdivision within a state or country and/or includes a word or words that commonly denote governmental organization or authority.

(2) Words that commonly denote governmental organization include, but are not limited to, "Agency," "Commission," "Department," "Bureau," "Division," "Municipal" or "Board."

Examples:

San Mateo County Sewer Commission implies a government affiliation.

United States Export Development Agency implies a government affiliation.

(b) If the proposed name creates a false implication that it is a professional corporation within the meaning of the Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act. The use of the words "Professional Corporation," "Prof Corp" or the letters "P.C." or "PC" at the end of a proposed name by a corporation that is not a professional corporation or foreign professional corporation within the meaning of the Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act is likely to mislead the public.

(c) If the proposed name creates a false implication that it is a business entity formed pursuant to a different law other than that under which it is actually formed. The use of a business entity identifier under Section 21001(c) for a business entity type other than specified in that section is misleading.

(d) If the proposed name creates the false implication that the business entity's purpose is to be an insurer. The words "insurance," "reinsurance," "assurance" and "surety" in a proposed name for a business entity that is not subject to the Insurance Code as an insurer may mislead the public unless the words are accompanied by other words that remove the implication that the business entity's purpose is to be an insurer. The addition of the words "agency," "agent," "services" or "broker" (such as "insurance agency," "insurance agent" or "insurance broker") may remove the implication that the business entity's purpose is that of an insurer.

(e) If the proposed name of a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation includes the words "Charitable Foundation" or "Foundation" at the end of the name or immediately preceding a business entity identifier.

(1. New section filed 5-14-2009; operative 5-14-2009 pursuant to Government Code section 11343.4 (Register 2009, No. 20). 2. Amendment of section and Note filed 11-19-2013; operative 1-1-2014 (Register 2013, No. 47). 3. Repealer of former section 21003 and renumbering of former section 21005 to section 21003, including amendment of subsection (c) filed 1-21-2021; operative 1-21-2021 pursuant to Government Code section 11343.4(b)(3) (Register 2021, No. 4).)

Note: Authority cited: Sections 8, 110, 201, 2106, 2601, 5008, 5122, 7122, 9122, 12214, 12302, 13409, 17701.08 and 17708.02, Corporations Code. Reference: Sections 8, 110, 201, 2101, 2106, 2601, 5008, 5122, 6910, 7122, 8910, 9122, 12214, 12302, 13409, 17701.08 and 17708.02, Corporations Code.

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