A Canada Name Search or Canada Business Name Search or Federal Nuans Name Search, as it is sometimes called, is required to incorporate a federal company in Canada.
The main objective of Industry Canada for incorporating a federal company is to have protection for the name across Canada. In order to accomplish this, the federal government must ensure that any name that is proposed does not conflict with any other name being used by an existing corporation anywhere in Canada. The federal government scrutinizes any proposed names very carefully. Industry Canada has developed Name Granting Guidelines and there are certain considerations to make when choosing a name. The average person doing a name search for a Canadian federal corporation would not be able to weed out the names that would be a conflict.
To save yourself time and money you should first do a preliminary name search through an experienced search house. The reason you should have someone experienced perform your Canada Name Search is that the federal government will refuse any name that is remotely close to another name and even names that sound the same and are spelled different will be a conflict. A search house is trained to look for these types of conflicts.
If you do not do a preliminary name search and the federal government rejects your proposed Canada Name Search, you will be required to order another Canada name search in order to request the government to look at another proposed name. This will continue until a Canada name search is cleared. The preliminary name search helps prevent this waste of money.
The federal government as well will provide you with a name clearance which is called a Federal Name Decision which can be obtained in advance of filing your articles and save wasted time. However, a Federal Name Decision cannot be obtained without first providing a Canada Name Search.
They will not look at a proposed company name without a full Federal Nuans name search report being provided to them. Hence, the reason for the preliminary name search.
Frankly there really is no guarantee with the Canadian federal government when it comes to names but experience can help make the process go much more quickly and reduce the likelihood of a rejection to a small percentage.
The name that you pick for your proposed company should contain at least five words and be very descriptive of the type of business that you intend to conduct. A preliminary name search should be done to determine if there are any similar names. If any similar names come up from the preliminary name search, the name should be rejected and a new proposed name should be picked. Most search houses will agree to provide you with a certain number of preliminary name searches for free when you agree to buy your name search from them.
Once you believe that you have a name that is sufficiently different than others, a full Canada Business Name Search should be ordered. There will more than likely be additional names on the corporation name search that are similar in one way or another to the name you have picked. The Canada name search should be submitted to Industry Canada for advance approval.
You should provide them with the following:
- A very complete description of the nature of business of the proposed company;
- if any of the words in the name are a combination of letters rather than an actual word, this should be explained;
- if any of the words in the name are in another language, provide a translation and let them know the language the words are in;
- if you are using your personal name in the proposed name you should advise them of this as well;
- provide the name of the city and province in which the company will conduct business; and
- if you own another company or proprietorship with a similar name let Industry Canada know the name and number of that registration so they will connect it to you.
The more information that you provide Industry Canada when you request its advance approval prior to incorporating, the more likely you will be able to obtain approval of the name. The federal government will then provide you with a Name Decision and approve your Canada Name Search and you will be provided an approval number.
If Industry Canada rejects the proposed name, it will provide you with an explanation as to why. If Industry Canada feels the name is too similar to another name being used by an existing company, you can look into the nature of business of that company and find out (a) what they do, and (b) whether they are still in business. If the nature of business is substantially different than your proposed company then Industry Canada may provide its consent to you for the use of your proposed name regardless of whether it first said no to your request. You may be able to determine the nature of business by checking Yellow Pages, Superpages or calling and discreetly attempting to determine the nature of business. You can also obtain more information about the conflicting company by obtaining a corporate search. A corporate search will provide you with the address of the company and the names of the directors and officers so that you have more information to find out whether the company is active. If you cannot locate the company in the phone book and on the web you might have a case to say that the conflicting company name is not out in the public eye so you should be able to use the name.
You would send a further letter to Industry Canada by facsimile outlining the information that you have researched and ask them to reconsider your choice of name again. In some cases, Industry Canada will allow you to use the name on the basis that if any one challenges the name at a later date, you will endeavour to change your name.
If, after all efforts have been attempted, your name is still rejected you will need to start the entire process over again. Remember…..there is no guarantee. It depends on the examiner at Industry Canada, but you can cut down the odds if you do it right the first time.