How to Find Business Records in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Business Records
In Massachusetts, the duty of maintaining business records, including
records of incorporation, trademark registration, and security interest
filings, falls to the Secretary of State. Here are a few tips to assist
you in accessing these records.
What Records Are Maintained by the Massachusetts Secretary of State?
When a business becomes a corporation, or incorporates, the corporate
entity is required to file documentation of its formation and status.
This is due to the fact that corporations receive separate treatment
under the law, so it is necessary to have a record of all corporate
Additionally, the Massachusetts Secretary of State maintains security
interest filings, or UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) filings. These
documents record security interests that secured parties have in certain
collateral in exchange for a loan.
Finally, the State of Massachusetts keeps a separate registry of
trademarks, permitting businesses to register marks they use in
commerce. This registry is not the same as the registry maintained by
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Why Would a Business Not Have Documents On File?
Sometimes businesses do not choose to incorporate, register trademarks
with a state registry, or obtain loans requiring UCC filings. When this
is the case, a business might not have documents on file at the
Secretary of State’s Office.
Additionally, sometimes businesses elect to incorporate in a different
state other than their home state. When this is the case, most
documentation will be filed in the state of incorporation. Massachusetts
does maintain records if out-of-state corporations file documentation in
conjunction with doing business in Massachusetts.
How Can I Search for Records Maintained by the Massachusetts Secretary
To search for Massachusetts business records online, first visit the
Massachusetts Secretary of State’s website, located here: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/.
From the home page, select the option “Corporations Division.”
To search for business information, from the “Corporations Division”
page, select “Search the Corporate Database.” This will take you to a
page where you can search by name, identification number, filing number,
or an individual such as an officer or director. Results will be
returned in a list, including the entity name, identification number,
and address. The entity name appears in blue and may be clicked to view
additional information, such as the entity type, date of registration,
jurisdiction, registered agent, directors and officers, total number of
shares and par value. At the bottom of the page, you may also select to
view images of that entity’s filings.
To search for UCC filings, from the “Corporations Division” page, select
“Search the UCC Database.” From this page, you can search by individual,
organization or file number. You can also limit the search by date or
type of party. Results will be returned in list form, including name,
type of party, city, state, filing type, filing number, original filing
number and filing date. The filing numbers are clickable links that take
you to a separate page dedicated to that UCC filing. If the filing is in
recent years, you will be provided with a link to view a scanned image
of the document. If the filing is older, you will be informed that the
document is available on microfiche.
To search for trademark information, from the “Corporations Division”
page, select “Search the Trademark Database” under the heading “Most
Requested.” This will take you to a page permitting you to search for
trademark information based upon registration number, registrant,
description of the trademark, or the trademark itself. You cal also
limit your search by date or by transaction. Results will be returned in
list format, including master ID, original number and registration date,
trademark and registrant. The original number appears in blue and is a
clickable link, providing access to additional information. Clicking on
this link will permit you to view the expiration date, address of the
registrant, type of application, description of the mark, the class of
the mark and the goods or services with which the mark will be used, as
well as registration history information. The registration history
contains links permitting you to view images of the original documents.
When using this search, remember that the state registry is not the same
as the national registry maintained by the United States Patent and
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