Corporate Name Search FAQ - Canada


A Corporate Name Search is the only way to guarantee that a proposed corporate name has not already been registered or trademarked, and it is required by federal and provincial governments if you want to register your business or incorporate. If you are registering Federally or in AB, ON, NB, NS or PEI, a NUANS® search is required. Elsewhere, provincial searches are required.
What is the difference between an Official Corporate Name Search and a Preliminary Corporate Name Search?

A Preliminary Search will search the appropriate databases and list any results that are identical or confusingly similar to your proposed names. You can search up to three names at a time, but the results of a Preliminary Search cannot be used to incorporate or register your business.

In AB, ON, NB, NS or PEI, your Preliminary Search will be conducted on a provincial level, meaning your results will reflect names and trademarks registered specifically in your province. In other provinces or territories, your Preliminary Search will be conducted at a federal level, meaning your results will reflect names and trademarks registered across all of Canada, but not those registered in your province or territory specifically.

An Official Search is more accurate, can be used to incorporate or register your business, and is valid for 90 days in most jurisdictions and 56 days in B.C.

What are the advantages of a Preliminary Corporate Name Search?

A Preliminary NUANS Search allows you to get unofficial results for up to three names. This option is best if you are contemplating multiple names and want to narrow down your list.

When can I expect the results of my Corporate Name Search?

You will receive the results of your Corporate Name Search by email within 1-2 business days, if not sooner.

What is NUANS?

The NUANS® is a computerized search system that compares a proposed corporate name or trade-mark with databases of existing corporate bodies and trademarks. NUANS® software and data is the property of Industry Canada. A NUANS® search produces a list of names that are the most similar to your proposed name.

Is a Corporate Name the same as a trademark?

No – a corporate name is not a trademark. A trademark is a distinctive sign, design or logo that distinguishes goods, wares, and services from that of competitors. While a corporate name may become a trademark through application or use, its registration alone does not establish a trademark.

Can I register a Corporate Name that is similar, but not identical to an existing Corporate Name?

Requirements vary by jurisdiction. Along with approval being attained by the respective jurisdiction, having a corporate name similar to one that has been previously registered can (a) confuse potential customers and suppliers, and (b) result in legal action being taken by the previous registrant.

 

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