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Name-squatters lose their rights (new law)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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A business forgetting to file its annual renewal with the Office of the Secretary of State could fall prey to name-stalkers or name-squatters. These are people who seek out business names that are not secured and try to squeeze the business owner for money to get the name back.

A new law, sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Kalin (DFL-North Branch) and Sen. Rick Olseen (DFL-Harris), will make it a more difficult for people to “hop on the name … an unethical practice,” Kalin said.

Effective 30 days after the office certifies it has systems in place to implement the provisions, the office will automatically file a name reservation to hold the name for a period of one year from the date of the business dissolution or termination if an annual renewal has not been filed.

The new law will also help the office upgrade its systems and practices. Primarily a technical law, there are two other provisions of note: eliminating the need for non-Minnesota businesses to file duplicate certificates from other states, as this information is readily accessible over the Internet; and strengthening of the so-called bogus filing review act that was passed by the Legislature four years ago.


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