803.03(h) Limited Liability Companies
Most states recognize an entity commonly identified as a “limited liability company” or “LLC.” The entity has attributes of both a corporation and a partnership. Therefore, the USPTO will accept “limited liability company” as an entity designation. The examining attorney may accept appropriate variations of this entity, with proof that the entity exists under the law of the relevant state. For example, some states recognize an entity identified as a “low-profit-limited-liability company” or “L3C,” which combines the features of a for-profit LLC and a nonprofit organization.
If “LLC” or “L3C” appears in the applicant’s name, but the entity is listed as a corporation, the examining attorney must inquire as to whether the applicant is a limited liability company or a corporation.
The applicant must indicate the state under whose laws the limited liability company is established. It is not necessary to list the “members” or owners of the limited liability company when identifying the entity.
See TMEP §611.06(g) regarding the proper party to sign a response to an Office action filed by a limited liability company that is not represented by an attorney.
Limited Liability Corporation. A business organization known as a “limited liability corporation” is currently not recognized in any jurisdiction. If an applicant’s entity type is identified as a limited liability corporation, the examining attorney must inquire as to whether the applicant is a limited liability company or a corporation. If the applicant believes that it is a limited liability corporation, then the applicant must provide proof that such a legal entity exists under the appropriate state statute.
See TMEP §803.03(k) regarding limited liability partnerships.