Franchise Laws and Regulations in South Carolina
South Carolina Franchise Registration Status: Filing State State Registration Fee: $0.00
The State of South Carolina should be considered and evaluated as a franchise notice state. This means that before offering or selling a franchise in the State of South Carolina, depending on whether or not your franchise system maintains a registered trademark, you must notify the South Carolina Secretary of State of your intention to offer or sell franchises in the state and, if you have a registered mark, obtain a “no action letter” exempting your franchise offering from South Carolina’s business opportunity requirements. If you do not have a registered mark, in addition to your FDD disclosure obligations, you may also be required to register your franchise offering as a South Carolina business opportunity. There is no filing fee if you have a registered mark and you are requesting a no action letter.
The franchise notice requirement is triggered by South Carolina's Business Opportunity Sales Act. Under this act, the term “business opportunity” is broadly defined and, in many instances, includes franchise offerings. However, franchisors with a federal or state registered trademark may claim exemption from South Carolina’s Business Opportunity Sales Act and, to ensure compliance, filing notice with the South Carolina Secretary of State is the proper course of action.
South Carolina Franchise Filing and Notice FAQ’s
Who Regulates the Filing of Franchises in the State of South Carolina?
The South Carolina Secretary of State is charged with enforcing South Carolina’s Business Opportunity Sales Act and, because the definition of a “business opportunity” may include a franchise offering, the Secretary of State is the governing agency for franchisors.
Where Are Notices Filed?
Franchise and business opportunity notices are sent to:
South Carolina Secretary of State
1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 525
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
Attn: Business Opportunities Division
Telephone Number: (803) 734-0367
Why Do You Refer to South Carolina As a Franchise Notice State?
Because if your franchise system maintain a registered trademark then you may claim an exemption to South Carolina’s Business Opportunity Laws. To do so, you should submit a letter (i.e., a “notice”) to the South Carolina Secretary of State where you submit proof that your system maintains a registered mark and request exemption from South Carolina’s business opportunity registration requirements.
What Should I Include With My Filing?
It depends. If your franchise system maintains a registered trademark then your filing should be in the form of a letter to the South Carolina Secretary of State (Business Opportunities Division) where you advise as to your intention to offer and sell franchises, the registration status of your trademarks and your request for a business opportunity exemption. If you do not maintain a registered trademark you should contact the Secretary of State and determine whether or not your will be required to register and file as a business opportunity.
What Response Will I Receive from the State of South Carolina?
If you maintain a registered mark, you will most likely receive a “No Action Letter” where you are advised that the Secretary of State “will not require you to register and file disclosures as a business opportunity in the State of South Carolina”.
What If My Franchise System Does Not Maintain a Registered Mark?
You will be required to file and register your franchise offering as a business opportunity under the South Carolina Business Opportunity Sales Act.
Does South Carolina Have Business Opportunity Laws?
Yes. In fact, it is South Carolina’s Business Opportunity Laws that trigger the franchise notice requirement and, potentially, the registering of your franchise offering as a business opportunity.
Helpful Links Concerning South Carolina’s Franchise and Business Opportunity Laws:
- SC Secretary of State Business Opportunity Page – This is the primary business opportunity resource page published by the South Carolina Secretary of State. This page includes a review of the business opportunity laws and the filing requirements.
- Business Opportunity Registration Form – This link is to the South Carolina Business Opportunity Registration and Renewal Form.
To learn more about state-by-state information for franchising, visit our page on state specific franchise laws. For more information on our Franchise Counsel Program and how we can help you register and protect your franchise system, click here.