Pennsylvania Statutes Title 15 Pa.C.S.A. Corporations and Unincorporated Associations § 202. Requirements for names generally

(a) General rule.--The proper name of a covered association may be in any language, but it must be expressed in Roman letters or characters, Arabic or Roman numerals or symbols or characters specified by regulation of the department under section 133(a)(3)(vi) (relating to powers of Department of State).

(b) Duplicate use of names.--Except as provided in subsection (f), the proper name of a covered association must be distinguishable on the records of the department from the following:

(1) The proper name of another covered association or the name of an association registered at any time under 54 Pa.C.S. Ch. 5 (relating to corporate and other association names), unless the covered association or other association has:

(i) stated that it is about to change its name, is about to cease to do business, is being wound up or is a foreign association about to withdraw from doing business in this Commonwealth, and the statement and a consent to the adoption of the name are delivered to the department for filing;

(ii) filed a tax return or certificate with the Department of Revenue indicating that the covered association or other association is out of existence or has failed for a period of three successive years to file with the Department of Revenue a report or return required by law and the fact of the failure has been certified by the Department of Revenue to the Department of State;

(iii) abandoned its name under the laws of its jurisdiction of formation, by amendment, merger, consolidation, division, expiration, dissolution or otherwise, without its name being adopted by a successor, and an official record of that fact, certified as provided under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5328 (relating to proof of official records), is presented by a person to the department;  or

(iv) had the registration of its name under 54 Pa.C.S. Ch. 5 terminated.

(2) A name that has been reserved or registered pursuant to section 208 (relating to reservation of name) or 209 (relating to registration of name of nonregistered foreign association).  A name shall be rendered unavailable for use under this subchapter by reason of the filing by the department of an assumed or fictitious name registration under 54 Pa.C.S. Ch. 3 (relating to fictitious names) only to the extent expressly provided in 54 Pa.C.S. Ch. 3.

(c) Required approvals or conditions.--

(1) The proper name of a covered association shall not imply that the association is:

(i) A governmental agency of the Commonwealth or of the United States.

(ii) A bank, bank and trust company, savings bank, private bank or trust company, as defined in the act of November 30, 1965 (P.L. 847, No. 356),   1 known as the Banking Code of 1965, unless:

(A) The association is a Pennsylvania bank holding company or is otherwise authorized by statute to use its name.

(B) The association is a nonprofit corporation holding property in trust under section 5547 (relating to authority to take and hold trust property) and has been converted from a trust company under Subchapter E of Chapter 3 (relating to conversion). 2  The preceding sentence controls over section 805(b) of the Banking Code of 1965.  3

(iii) An insurance company, nor shall it contain any of the words “annuity,” “assurance,” “beneficial,” “bond,” “casualty,” “endowment,” “fidelity,” “fraternal,” “guaranty,” “indemnity,” “insurance,” “insurer,” “reassurance,” “reinsurance,” “surety” or “title” when used in a manner as to imply that the association is engaged in the business of writing insurance or reinsurance as principal or any other words of like purport unless it is duly licensed as an insurance company by its jurisdiction of formation or the Insurance Department certifies that it has no objection to the use by the association or proposed association of the designation.  The proper name of a domestic insurance company shall:

(A) contain the word “mutual” only if it is a mutual insurance company;  and

(B) clearly designate the object and purpose of the association.

(iv) A public utility furnishing electric or gas service to the public, unless the association or proposed association has as an express purpose the furnishing of service subject to the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

(v) A credit union.  See 17 Pa.C.S. § 104 (relating to prohibition on use of words “credit union”).

(2) The proper name of a covered association shall not contain:

(i) The word “college,” “university” or “seminary” when used in a manner as to imply that it is an educational institution conforming to the standards and qualifications prescribed by the State Board of Education, unless there is submitted a certificate from the Department of Education certifying that the association or proposed association is entitled to use that designation.

(ii) Words that constitute blasphemy, profane cursing or swearing or that profane the Lord's name.

(iii) The words “engineer” or “engineering,” “surveyor” or “surveying” or any other word implying that any form of the practice of engineering or surveying as defined in the act of May 23, 1945 (P.L. 913, No. 367),   4 known as the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law, is provided unless at least one of the individuals signing the initial public organic record of the association or one of the governors of the existing association has been properly registered with the State Registration Board for Professional Engineers in the practice of engineering or surveying and there is submitted to the department a certificate from the board to that effect.

(iv) The words “architect” or “architecture” or any other word implying that any form of the practice of architecture as defined in the act of December 14, 1982 (P.L. 1227, No. 281),   5 known as the Architects Licensure Law, is provided unless at least one of the individuals signing the initial public organic record of the association or one of the governors of the existing association has been properly registered with the Architects Licensure Board in the practice of architecture and there is submitted to the department a certificate from the board to that effect.

(v) The word “cooperative” or an abbreviation thereof unless the corporation is a cooperative corporation.

(vi) Any other words prohibited by law.  See section 103 (relating to subordination of title to regulatory laws).

(d) Other rights unaffected.--This section shall not abrogate or limit the law as to unfair competition or unfair practices nor derogate from the common law, the principles of equity or the provisions of 54 Pa.C.S. (relating to names) with respect to the right to acquire and protect trade names.

(e) Remedies for violation of section.--The use of a name in violation of this section shall not vitiate or otherwise affect the existence or any acts of an association, but a court having jurisdiction may enjoin the association from using or continuing to use a name in violation of this section on the application of:

(1) the Attorney General, acting on his or her own motion or at the instance of an administrative department, board or commission of this Commonwealth;  or

(2) a person adversely affected.

(f) Court-ordered use of name.--Subsection (b) shall not apply if an association delivers to the department for filing a certified copy of a final judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction establishing the right of the association to use a name in this Commonwealth.

1 7 P.S. § 101 et seq.
2 15 Pa.C.S.A. § 351 et seq.
3 7 P.S. § 805.
4 63 P.S. § 148 et seq.
5 63 P.S. § 34.1 et seq.

FindLaw Codes are provided courtesy of Thomson Reuters Westlaw, the industry-leading online legal research system. For more detailed codes research information, including annotations and citations, please visit Westlaw.

FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.