STOP PRESS! UK Beneficial Ownership Info now in OpenCorporates
Agent
An agent is a person or entity designated to send and receive legal correspondence on behalf of a business entity.
Branch
A branch registration is required when a company seeks to have a place of business or branch in a jurisdiction other than the jurisdiction in which that company is incorporated. For example a business incorporated in Michigan which has a presence in California would be required to register with the California company register as a branch, as is the case in this instance.
Company
OpenCorporates has taken a pragmatic and (we think) sensible approach to this, as it changes from country to country and culture to culture: a company is something registered as a company by a company registry.
Control Statement
A ControlStatement is a declaration by a company or entity about how it is controlled. A company may have multiple entities controlling it (entites may be companies, people or organisations), in which case there will be multiple statements of control, or may have no entity controlling it in which case the statement can detail this fact together with the reasons. The controlling entities will be 'ultimate beneficial owners' if the company is stating that the controlling entities are natural persons who ultimately control the company in some way.
Corporate Grouping
A corporate grouping is a loose collection of different companies that humans (as opposed to corporate lawyers) consider part of the same group. They are a way of linking hard legal entities to fuzzy entities like wikipedia entries, and allow this information to be collected in a distributed and open way. You can help by adding legal corporate entities to these corporate groupings.
Corporate Network
A corporate network is a set of companies that are linked by tangible control relationships, usually consisting of a network of parent-child ownership relationships, as opposed to corporate groupings which are an informal grouping of companies that our users believe to be related to each other. Corporate networks are as complex as they are important - we have gone into much greater detail about what a corporate network is and why they are important on this page.
Inactive
OpenCorporates marks a company as "Inactive" based on a mapping of a variety of company statuses, such as "Dissolved", "Inactive", "Revoked". In jurisdictions that do not provide company status information this is also sometimes inferred from dissolution dates that are in the past, where they exist.
Native Company Number
The native company number is the basic identifier used by the company register in situations where Opencorporates has had to use identifiers for company numbers that are not identical to those used by the register, for example in instances where the basic identifiers used by a register are not unique. Opencorporates handles these problems according to a policy paper.
No Longer On Register
We occasionally come across companies that have disappeared from the company register. There can be many reasons for this, including the register record being 'bad data' (for example a duplicate entry, or entered into the register in error). They could also - in rare circumstances - be deliberately deleted to obscure the existence of a company, or because the company identifier has changed, and there's no clear match to the new one (see our policy paper). Because the registers are rarely clear about the reason for the record's disappearance, in absence of any other evidence we leave the record in OpenCorporates, and flag as 'no longer on register'
Nonprofit
A Non-Profit company is a company where any profits are utilised to further the company's goals, rather than being distributed to shareholders or directors. These companies can be charities, however not all non-profit companies are charities. OpenCorporates marks as "Non-Profit" many not-for-profit jurisdiction-specific company types such as, in the US state of Louisiana, "Non-Profit Corporation" and "Non-Profit Religious Corporation".
Officer
OpenCorporates describes an officer as a person that has official standing within a company, inclusive of registered agents but excluding shareholders. In the United Kingdom this would include roles such as "Secretary" and "Director".
User Contributed Data
The vast majority of OpenCorporates comes from public, statutory records, and this, together with the provenance we provide for each bit of data, gives users the confidence users need to not just be able to user the data but be able to track it back to its source. However, there are several areas where users can contribute, curate or enhance existing data (as well as helping open up corporate data by writing bots to liberate it). In particular, users can curate Corporate Groupings, or add addresses, telephone numbers or websites to companies using the 'Add Data' feature on company pages. Where data is user-contributed we always show that, and the user who contributed, in the provenance of the data.