Social Network Update

July 11, 2011
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Law Office of Isaac H. Winer
2225 E. Bayshore Rd., Suite 200
Palo Alto, California 94303
Phone (650) 330-0110
Fax (650) 618-1886


Dear Friend,


I hope you'll enjoy taking a brief moment to check-out my most recent blog post. Our social media posts cover interesting points or developments in business law and litigation.  In this issue, we discuss whether a company may use symbols or punctuation in its registered name.



Isaac H. Winer, Esq.

Law Office of Isaac H. Winer 

What's In A Name?   Symbols and Punctuation in Naming a Company -  EXPRE$$ YOUR$ELF!   :-)


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Law Blog Wordpress Link  A client asked me if, in naming their California start-up company, they could use symbols and/or punctuation (say, other than a period or comma for ", Inc." or "Corp.").  (The specific entity -- a corporation, LLC or other entity -- wasn't decided yet.)  The short answer appears to be "yes," a company may use certain punctuation and symbols in the name of an entity, and the applicable rules cover all entities registered in California.  :-)  Sections 21000-21009 of the California Code of Regulations (the "Code") provide rules for naming a business entity in California.  The introductory provision, Section 21000 subpart (a), provides that "Business entity names must use the English alphabet or Arabic numerals (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) or symbols as listed in Section 21002(b)(6)(B) or a combination thereof."  The latter provision identifies nine (yes, 9!) symbols, specifically including the @, #, %, ^, &, *, + and =.  While the term "punctuation" is not used in Section 21000, my interpretation of the Code is that at least eighteen (18!) punctuation marks are allowed in naming an entity:  the period (.), slash (/), comma (,), back slash (\), semicolon (;), hyphen or dash (- or -); colon (:), underline (_), apostrophe ('), swung dash or tilde (~), single quotation mark ('), parentheses (( )), double / regular quotation mark (" " or " "), brackets ([ ]), question mark (?), angle brackets or greater / less than signs (< >), exclamation mark (!), and braces ({ }).  Whether more unusual punctuation marks, like the ellipsis (...) or guillemets (�  �), are acceptable in an entity name is unclear from the Code, but ... it seems unlikely ... that any punctuation which is not identified in Section 21002(b)(6)(A) of the Code will be permitted!  :-(

When a company desires to form or register an entity in California, the decision as to what entity name will be allowed is reposed in the deft hands of the California Secretary of State's office which supervises filings for entity formations and foreign (non-California) entity registrations.  Applying the rules for naming a company in California and obtaining the Secretary of State's acceptance of an entity's name can be tricky, so new California companies and existing foreign entities should consult with a California business lawyer (like myself ;-)) for assistance in navigating these muddy waters!  Oh, and by the way -- I hope you'll forgive my excessive use of symbols, punctuation and emoticons in writing this post...  I was overcome by an urge to express myself!  So, go out there and express yourself (just like Madonna :-P) -- with symbols and punctuation in naming your company, but ... beware the pitfalls of California law in doing so.  :-)


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About Our Law Firm

We provide high quality, cost-efficient and prompt legal services in a diverse array of business law matters, both transactional and litigation.  Whether you seek to form a new business, negotiate a transaction or manage a dispute, we provide seasoned, hands-on experience to meet your legal needs.  Our experience is forged from tenures at both large and boutique law firms and as in-house and outside general counsel to private and public companies throughout California.  We represent individuals and companies, ranging from early stage start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.


2225 E. Bayshore Rd., Suite 200
Palo Alto, California 94303
Phone (650) 330-0110
Fax (650) 618-1886







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Copyright � 2011 Isaac H. Winer, Esq.

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