Legally, “Pantone, Inc.” and “Pantone LLC” are two distinct corporate bodies. The name change reflects the fact that there has been a change of ownership and that the company has been “taken private,” that is, it is now owned by X-Rite Incorporated and its shares cannot be bought on any exchange. The change of name represents an asset swap and the dissolution or restructuring of the old company, of which anyone could buy shares over-the-counter. There was also a change of jurisdiction, as Pantone, Inc., formerly Pantone Press, Inc., was a New York corporation and Pantone LLC is incorporated in Delaware, so there has been a complete reorganization and new creation, not just a cosmetic name change. A search of the Delaware corporation data base shows nine other active (and certainly related) corporate entities whose name begins with “Pantone.”
Two linked records should be created. “Pantone” by itself does not suffice, unless you think an undifferentiated corporate name is desirable when an undifferentiated personal name is not. The uses of library-type qualifiers instead of legal ones all but mandates the creation of undifferentiated corporate names based on brand identity or common words. Pantone, Inc., and Pantone LLC are variants of some Platonic Pantone-ness only to the same degree that William and Henry James are variants of an overarching James-ness, or James family DNA, or even James family fame. Many of these supposed “Firms” are not even firms at all but parts of firms or, like “Dominion (Firm)” merely registered trademarks.
The games, by the way, are played for big stakes, like cashing out for your heirs before you die, picking up bargains, getting rid of drags on the balance sheet, easing regulatory, reporting and tax burdens, protecting intellectual property rights in names like “Pantone,” and so on. What strikes me as interesting, is that librarians swallow the work of modern “branding” consultants hook, line and sinker, thereby changing their records with every new image or design change that truly represents nothing more than a succession of novel variants on an underlying reality. See for example “The Henry Ford,” or “The Franklin.”
Perhaps there should be parallel thesauri for the shopping- and brand-conscious and for the legal- and ownership-conscious.
Complexity in the corporate world (and in personal, biological lineages for that matter) lies in the “creative destruction” and morphing and multiplication of entities. Complexity in the literary world lies in the constant proliferation and morphing of works, expressions and manifestations. Personally, I am glad that my work deals with the former and almost never involves the latter.
Christopher T. Baer
Manuscripts & Archives
Hagley Museum and Library
This is a situation in which I think using a generic qualifying term, instead of a term indicating incorporation, would be preferable—IF it's determined that qualification is needed at all. If "Pantone" isn't sufficient, then I'd want to use "Pantone (Firm)", with "Pantone, Inc." and "Pantone, LLC" as variants. I don't see any benefit to having separate AAPs for "Pantone, Inc." and "Pantone, LLC". My hunch is that the change from "Inc." to "LLC" is related to a merger or acquisition; in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if maybe Pantone, Inc. was dissolved and Pantone, LCC was created as a "new" company.
Of course, there are also those cases where two levels of hierarchy have the same base name. What I'm used to seeing is the creation of something like "Useless Corporation, Inc." become a subsidiary of a newly created "Useless Corporation Holdings"—and then that new parent gets absorbed into some other entity, or otherwise changes its name. So, I suppose it is possible that Pantone, Inc. and Pantone, LCC both existed simultaneously at one time? If that's so, it become a little trickier, but there is certainly precedent in AACR2 for putting both under the same established heading, with variants for the specific entities.
Don't you just love all these games corporate bodies play...
Kevin M. Randall
Principal Serials Cataloger
Northwestern University Library
Proudly wearing the sensible shoes since 1978!