About the Department of Commerce
Welcome to the Utah Department of Commerce site. We are the licensing and registration agency for Utah's professional and business community. We provide oversight of business registrations, trademarks, Uniform Commercial Code filings, occupational and professional licensing, consumer protection, public utilities, securities, real estate and residential mortgage lending. We respond to consumer complaints within our areas of jurisdiction.
The Utah Department of Commerce was established in its current form in 1983 out of the previous Department of Business Regulation, which replaced the Utah Trade Commission in 1941. The Legislative Findings creating the Department recognize that businesses and professions are beneficial to Utah and notes that the primary purpose of the Department's regulation is the general public interest.
The Utah Department of Commerce is one of the Utah's chief regulatory agencies which is responsible for issuing almost 300,000 licenses and regulating hundreds of industries. Commerce staff are dedicated to fair and efficient regulation across a variety of industries which impact Utah's citizens.
Utah Commerce Administration mission is to support our Divisions as they enhance trust in Utah's economy:
- Office of Consumer Services (OCS)
- Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL)
- Consumer Protection (DCP)
- Public Utilities (DPU)
- Corporations and Commercial Code (CORP)
- Securities (SEC)
- Real Estate (DRE)
- Serving the Public
Commerce Administration oversees the following programs and procedures:
- Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman
- New Automobile Franchise Act
- Powersport Vehicle Franchise Act
- Agency Review of Administrative Actions
The Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) is one of seven agencies within the Utah Department of Commerce. The Mission of the Division of Consumer Protection is to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices, to encourage the development of fair business practices, and to provide consumer education. The Division has a three-pronged approach to consumer protection: education, registration, and enforcement.
The Division administers the following Utah State Laws:
- Business Opportunity Disclosure Act
- Consumer Sales Practices Act
- Charitable Solicitations Act
- Child Protection Registry
- Credit Service Organizations Act
- Health Spa Services Protection Act
- Immigration Consultants Registration Act
- Music Licensing Act
- New Motor Vehicles Warranties Act
- Pawnshop & Secondhand Merchandise Transaction Information Act
- Price Controls During Emergencies Act
- Prize Notices Regulation Act
- Telephone Fraud Prevention Act
- Telephone and Facsimile Solicitation Act
- Transportation Network Company Registration Act
- Unfair Practices Act
- Uniform Debt-Management Services Act
- Utah Postsecondary Proprietary School Act
- Utah Postsecondary School State Authorization Act
The Division of Corporations and Commercial Code in the Utah Department of Commerce registers all statutory business entities, state trademarks, and article 9 lien notice filings. The Division also records certain service of process and bankruptcy filings. There are other less noticeable, but equally important filings.
Those businesses which should register with the division are: profit and non-profit corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, general partnerships, sole proprietors who have an assumed name, business trusts, real estate investment trusts, and any other assumed business name. Those entities which are created by the filing with the division are: corporations and limited liability companies. All other filings are notice filings and those entities can exist without the filing in the division.
The trademark law covers notice for the State of Utah only. Federal trademark law will offer protection for the entire United States. The state law ties into the federal statute in that it requires the filer to affirm that they checked the federal registry and their filing will not infringe on any federal filing. It is the responsibility of the filer to discover any similar filings.
The Division no longer accepts service of process for businesses that were registered in Utah, but no longer maintain a registered agent. The reason for this is due to a new law that went into effect in May 2009 Service of Process . Out-of-state motorist service is also filed with the division. Bankruptcy filings are sent to the division for notice.
The Division also files Uniform Commercial Code filings relative to Revised Article 9. These are notice filings which report the existence of a secured transaction. The Division also files agricultural liens under the CFS (Federal Food Security Act) filing guidelines.
As well as all the above mentioned activities, the Division is charged with a variety of small filings, such as: the Governmental Entity Database - an online directory of contact for any governmental entity; One Stop Business Registration web site - a partnership with multiple agencies from local, state and federal level; digital signatures certification agents; archival business research - searching old stock certificates to find disposition of business entity; and individual name searches - those people involved as principals in businesses.
The Division staffs an information and help phone bank which answers thousands of phone calls each month. The help staff also man an online information chat for those using our online services. The agency has two help counters for walk-in service.
The Division of Corporations and Commercial Code provides many services, but is not an investigative nor enforcement agency. The Division will not compel anyone to make statutorily required filings, but will, in good faith, accept any statutorily compliant filings.
The Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, also known as DOPL, is one of seven agencies within the Utah Department of Commerce. DOPL's mission is twofold: protect the public and enhance commerce through licensing and regulation.
DOPL is legislatively charged to administer and enforce specific laws related to the licensing and regulation of certain occupations and professions. The majority of these statutes are located in Utah Code Title 58 .
Currently, DOPL issues licenses in approximately 60 categories of licensure. Additionally, the majority of these license categories include several individual license classifications. For example, within the nursing profession, licenses can be obtained for an LPN, RN, CRNA, APRN, or CNM. Annually, DOPL reviews an average of over 43,000 new applications and processes approximately 109,000 renewal applications.
To fulfill its responsibilities, DOPL's efforts are organized into two primary functions:licensing and investigations. DOPL also houses several independent programs related to its licensing and investigative functions. DOPL is headed by a division director who is appointed by the Department of Commerce's Executive Director with the Governor's approval.
The Division of Public Utilities, makes recommendations to the Utah Public Service Commission for rate-making purposes, applications, hearings and other issues affecting quality of service. The Division also handles and investigates consumer complaints and monitors utility operations to ensure compliance with Public Service Commission rules, regulations and orders. For a more comprehensive review of the Division of Public Utilities duties, please see Title 54_04a of the Utah Code .
The Division of Public Utilities is separated into 5 sections:
- Energy: helps the Public Service Commission regulate electric and natural gas utilities that provide service in Utah.
- Telecommunications: aids the Public Service Commission in regulating local telephone companies in Utah.
- Water: monitors and regulates numerous private water companies in Utah
- Pipeline Safety: implements and enforces safety standards for all natural gas pipeline transmission and distribution facilities as well as master meter installations and new pipeline construction within Utah to ensure compliance with the Federal Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 and Public Service Commission Rules.
- Customer Service: handles inquires and complaints from all of the above mentioned utilities regarding services rendered.
The Utah Public Service Commission has jurisdiction over investor owned and cooperative owned public utilities. Utah Code 54 � 2 defines a public utility to include "every railroad corporation, gas corporation, electrical corporation, distribution electrical cooperative, wholesale electrical cooperative, telephone corporation, telegraph corporation, water corporation, sewerage corporation, heat corporation, and independent energy producer not described . . . where the service is performed for, or the commodity delivered to, the public generally." The term corporation "does not include towns, cities, counties, conservancy districts, improvement districts, or other governmental units created or organized under any general or special law of this state." The Commission is also responsible for the safety regulation of intrastate natural gas pipelines. This includes pipelines owned by regulated utilities, municipal gas systems, small gas operators (master meter systems), and liquid propane gas systems. In general, the following ARE regulated by the Public Service Commission:
- Electric Power Utilities
- Telecommunication Utilities providing local service
- Natural Gas Utilities
- Water & Sewer Utilities
- Safety of intrastate natural gas pipelines
The following are NOT regulated by the Utah Public Service Commission but may be regulated by federal or local agencies:
- Cable Television
- Wireless Phone Service & Pager Services
- Satellite Services
- Internet Service Providers, DSL (Except Service Quality), Cable and Wireless Internet Connected Services, Voice Over
- Internet Protocol (VOIP)
- Interstate Long Distance Telephone Carriers (Except Slamming)
- Municipal Utilities (Utilities owned by local governments)
The Division of Real Estate (DRE) is one of seven agencies within the Utah Department of Commerce. The Mission of the Division of Real Estate is to protect the public and promote responsible business practices through education, licensure, and regulation of real estate, mortgage, and appraisal professionals.
The Division administers the following Utah State Laws:
- Real Estate Licensing and Practices Act
- Real Estate Appraiser Licensing and Certification Act
- Appraisal Management Company Registration & Regulation Act
- Utah Residential Mortgage Practices & Licensing Act
- Timeshare and Camp Resort Act
- Utah Uniform Land Sales Practices Act
The Utah Division of Securities is the state agency responsible for regulating the securities (investment) industry in the state and enforcing Utah's securities laws. The Division seeks to create a level playing field in the investment industry and ensure minimum standards of competence, training, and fair-dealing by issuing licenses to broker-dealers and investment advisers and all of their agents and representatives that do business in the state. In addition to regulating the securities industry, the Division's mission includes a mandate to help educate and protect Utah's investors.
As part of an effort to educate investors and consumers, the Utah Division of Securities provides the public with the information and resources they need to make informed decisions about their investments. This includes information on the securities industry, various investment products, public service announcements, investor education, and common scams that investors face. The Division also provides tools and resources so that investors can research investment opportunities and the companies or individuals selling those investments.
The Office of Consumer Services is Utah's utility consumer advocate, representing residential, small commercial and agricultural consumers of natural gas, electric and telephone service before the Utah Public Service Commission.
Utah's utility consumer advocate was first established as the Committee of Consumer Services in 1977 by the Utah Legislature. In 2009 the Utah Legislature reorganized the Committee into the Office of Consumer Services. The Office is staffed with five full-time professionals led by a Director who is appointed by the Governor, with the concurrence of the Committee and consent of the Senate, for a term of six years. The Director, on behalf of the Office, represents the interests of residential and small commercial consumers. The Committee of Consumer Services is a five-member layperson board that advises the Office regarding utility rate changes and other regulatory actions on residential, small commercial and irrigator customers and helps establish policy objectives.
The Office belongs to a national organization of utility consumer advocates, NASUCA. Through our association with NASUCA we can better remain up-to-date on consumer advocacy issues nation-wide which, in turn, helps us be more effective in addressing issues here in Utah.
The Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman is a neutral, non-partisan office in the Utah Department of Commerce that protects the property rights of the citizens of Utah. The Office assists citizens and government agencies in understanding and complying with property rights laws, resolves disputes, and advocates fairness and balance when private rights conflict with public needs.
The Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman is a neutral, non-partisan agency that helps citizens understand and protect their rights to property ownership and use.