Starting a Business in Illinois—Laws to Consider
Starting a new business is an exciting venture, but there are many laws and regulations to consider when doing so. Illinois has many laws regarding how businesses should be formed and operated, and being aware of those laws will help you avoid pitfalls both now and in the future as you grow.
Permits, Licensing, and Registration
First off, Illinois has numerous permit and licensing laws. These vary by the type of business you intend to go into—for instance, some businesses don’t need any licensing at all in order to operate, but others may need multiple permits and licenses to be legal. The location also matters. Chicago, for example, will have different registration requirements from other cities when it comes to business permits.
There will also be certain information you’ll need to register with the Illinois Secretary of State. These include your business name, trade names (including fictitious or “DBA” names), trademarks, and service marks. If you are forming a corporation or LLC, your organizational documents need to be registered as well.
Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practice Laws
The Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act prohibits certain misleading trade tactics. These tactics are typically categorized as “unfair competition,” which encompasses the following:
- False advertising
- False representation of products or services
- Trademark infringement
- Unlawful use of confidential information
- Breach of restrictive or non-compete agreements
- Trade libel
- Bait and switching tactics
- Misappropriation of trade secrets
Illinois laws permit prosecution against entities that perform these types of tactics, so it’s important to be aware of them. You may need to call out competitors on unfair competition in order to succeed as a business. At the same time, you will need to make sure your own business operations don’t inadvertently fall within this realm as well.
Both federal and state laws prevent mergers and acquisitions that could give companies an unfair edge in the market or restrict fair trade and commerce. The rationale behind these laws is simple—if a merger would limit consumer choices in the market, then the company no longer has to work to attract customers and would therefore no longer be as likely to provide the kind of quality consumers deserve.
Adherence to these laws is vital to avoiding private lawsuits and federal actions, particularly for larger corporations that may face massive fines for violations.
Illinois Corporation Laws
Incorporating in Illinois requires you to include specific elements in your company’s structure as well as certain documents. For instance, you will need to file a certificate of incorporation, draft your Articles of Incorporation, and pay a filing fee to the Illinois Secretary of State.
Regulatory Flexibility Program
Illinois has a program in which small businesses can work with the state in order to create more flexible and cost-effective rules. They send rules out to businesses and receive feedback in return in order to determine the impact of those rules.
Because of this and other factors, laws governing Illinois businesses are constantly evolving, so it’s important to keep on top of them. Skilled legal counsel, such as that provided by Hart David Carson LLP, is a solid way to make sure your business is fully compliant with the law.