NUANS Tutorial

Choosing a Corporate name

Every corporation, like a person, must have a name. This name must be distinct from all other companies, in order to protect the public and avoid confusion.

Preclearance of Database

Not all Search Houses perform preclearances, however we feel that it is an important service to offer our clients. Upon doing a preclearance we can determine, prior to running a NUANS report, whether your proposed name has a chance of being accepted. This eliminates the need to do further NUANS reports thereby saving you money. The preclearance involves a manual search on the government run NUANS database. If we determine that your proposed name is in conflict with others we will inform you and suggest a different name prior to running a NUANS report.

NUANS Report

NUANS is a Federal Government database, which includes Federal Corporate names, Canadian Trademarks and many, but not all provincially incorporated and unincorporated companies.

Your NUANS report once produced is a five-page report showing three (3) pages of Trade names or similar company names and two (2) pages of Trademarks, which are similar to your purposed name.
This report will reserve your purposed name for Ninety (90) days.

What are the Rules Governing Names

Generally, a corporate name is composed of three (3) elements:

  1. A "distinctive element" which is the unique identifier of the name.
  2. A "descriptive element" which describes the line of business.
  3. A "legal element," which indicates the legal status of the company as an incorporated, body.


Distinctive Element, Descriptive Element, Legal element

We are often asked if there are any differences between legal elements. There is no difference, simple choose what sounds the best. Legal elements available are Limited, Limitée, Incorporated, Incorporée, Corporation or the abbreviation of these words.

Things to consider when picking your name

The distinctive element is many times the most important word, as it distinguishes the proposed name from other company names and trademarks and makes it unique. It is often best to use a coined word or made up word (perhaps using a combination of your name and names of the other incorporator's)

Other useful considerations which render the proposed name not acceptable, are as follows:

  • does the name contain prohibited words or phases. ie: Parliament Hill, RCMP, Cooperative
  • Is the name obscene, scandalous, or immoral
  • Is it too general, lacks distinctiveness
  • Is prohibited where the name connotes that the Corporation is sponsored, controlled or affiliated with the Government (Consent in writing required).
  • Individuals names can only be used with consent or unless they are an incorporator
  • Suffixes like ".ca" or ".com" are not treated as distinctive and will be treated as if it did not have the suffix.

    Acceptable: Doc Inc.

    Not acceptable: Inc.

If you need assistance in determining whether a name is compliant or require any assistance what so ever please call our toll free number 1-888-732-7247, or email us and one of our qualified name searchers will be glad to assist you.

When is a NUANS report required

A NUANS search report is mandatory for purposes of Provincial and Federal Incorporations. When registering you business under the Business Name Act a NUANS report is not mandatory, however it is strongly recommended, since you can be sued if the name is the same or similar to an existing business.

A NUANS report is a good first step to protect your business name however it is not infallible. You should also check local telephone books and the Internet to name a few. There are many other searches and procedures that can be conducted in order to protect your business name, the most extensive is obtaining a trademark. If you wish to explore these possibilities contact us and our affiliated trademark agents can assist you.