Earlier this year, the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) launched a new electronic filing portal that franchisors and other companies can use to file franchise, securities, and other business documents for California. Having personally used it for a number of franchise-related filings, I can tell you that the portal was difficult to use and full of flaws. In fact, because of problems with uploading documents and managing filings for my franchisor clients, in some instances I was forced to send paper copies of documents to the DBO -- even though I had already e-filed them through the portal.
The good news is that the DBO has been listening to our complaints and making changes to the portal -- just in time for franchise renewal season. The latest update now makes it possible for a single law firm to register and file documents for multiple franchise companies. This is a vast improvement from the prior version, which required outside franchise counsel (like me) to register a different account for each franchisor I represent. Now, a franchise attorney will be able to manage multiple California franchise registrations through one account.
Here is the text of the DBO's press release (dated November 14, 2014) on the latest updates to DOCQNET:
DBO Self-Service Portal Users:
Based on feedback the Department of Business Oversight (DBO) received from DBO self-service portal users like you, the DBO will modify the portal to make the Franchise or Securities notice filing process more convenient and user-friendly. Beginning on Monday, November 17, 2014 firms that file multiple franchise or securities notices, such as the Limited Offering Exemption Filing under Corporations Code Section 25102(f), will have the option to submit multiple filings under a single registered account. The notice filing history and payment history for 25102(f) filings will be available to you in the online portal. However, please note that the notice filing history and payment history for any other notice filing is not available.
When you register (sign up) on the portal, you’ll be given the option to select from one of two registration links:
- To register as a Financial Services Licensee, as a securities issuer or franchisor filing on your own behalf, or a firm submitting Franchise registration applications or securities permit applications, you will go through the same registration process that exists currently, where both contact information and information about the Issuer/Licensee are required for registration.
- To register a law firm seeking to file franchise and securities notices for multiple issuers, you will be asked to provide only your law firm’s information and desired username. You will provide Issuer information with each individual filing.
If you have previously registered and filed multiple times (and therefore have multiple accounts), the Department will be combining your previous filings under a single account. We will send you a follow up email by Monday, November 17 with the username of the account that has been retained. If you choose not to continue to use that username, you can still create a new single user account to submit all future filings.
Other features and changes include:
- The filing summary preview page for 25102(f) notices will now have a button to select a printer-friendly version of the page
- Issuer Representative information will be auto-populated using the information you provided at the time of registration
We hope these changes further improve your experience using the DBO self-service portal. For more information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.