A preliminary name search is a pre-check of a proposed company name, business name or sole proprietorship name before you order your full NUANS name search report or other similar name search. A NUANS name search report or similar name search report is given to the government when you wish to incorporate a company, and also sometimes when you are registering a business name, sole proprietorship or partnership in Canada. The government reviews the name search report to ensure there are no conflicts before it allows you to register your business. Some Canadian jurisdictions such as the federal jurisdiction will reject a name even if it sounds like another name and is spelled differently.
When you order a NUANS report or name search report with a search house normally the search house will do a preliminary name search as part of the service. You should ask this in advance. You should never receive a full NUANS name search report or similar name search without first having a preliminary name search done. If the search house says this is not part of their service then you should look for another one. Any search house can order a NUANS name search but a qualified search house will pre-check the name for you to make sure you have a better chance of having your name accepted by the particular Canadian government. Consider it this way. You decide you want to register the name John's House Cleaning Business Inc. There is no exact match but there is a registration for John's Housecleaning Business Ltd. The search house you use does not tell you about John's Housecleaning Business Ltd. because they do not pre-clear the name. You register your business and John of John's Housecleaning Business Ltd. finds out about you. He has established himself in the same area where you live and is well known to the public for 20 or more years. He considers your business name as a conflict and he could take you to court and try to get your name changed because it is a conflict to him. Depending on how well he is established or the conflicts that arise after you start using your name, you could be requested by court order to change your business name. Can you imagine how much trouble that could be for you? Would you want to have a name that was that close to another business anyway? It would be a conflict for you as well. In Ontario you can register any company name as long as it is different in some way. Using the example above, both those names are the same except for one space and the ending of the name. The Ontario government would let that go through however the federal government would reject it for sure.
When You Order Your NUANS Report or Name Search report with us we provide the following to you:
- Unlimited Free Preliminary Searches for the Name of Your Company (as many as you wish!!!!) -- Why Pay Extra When We Do Them For Free
- 30 years' experience in conducting name searches to ensure you pick a name that is distinctive and different from others in Canada thereby preventing future problems with name litigation
- Fast, Reliable Service
- Answer any of your questions with respect to how the government offices work for your registration
In Ontario and Alberta and possibly in other Canadian jurisdictions, you can register a business name, sole proprietorship or partnership without providing a NUANS name search report. This means the government will not be reviewing the name prior to registration and therefore the onus is on you to ensure you have a name different from others. In fact in Alberta and Ontario you can register a business name exactly the same as another business name. In these cases it is a good idea to do a preliminary name search. Therefore in a case where you do not have to provide a name search report to register a business name, partnership or sole proprietorship, you should do a preliminary name search. Keep in mind that many search houses will do the preliminary name search for free if you chose their service to register your business, however, if you have any concerns about that just write them and ask them what the policy is.
Some Canadian jurisdictions such as Manitoba require a Manitoba name search to accompany the registration of a company. Manitoba does not accept the NUANS name search report. They have their own form of name search which is obtained through their own system. When you order a name search from the Manitoba government they only allow for you to pick one name for a fee of $40. If they do not like your name you have to order another search. Can you imagine how expensive that can be if you have to keep picking names and they are not accepted. Looking in the phone book or on the internet is not the way to check to see if a name is available either. To avoid this you can have a preliminary name search done by a search house such as Resources for Canadian Business Owners for a fee of $7.00 (unlimited pre-checks of as many names as you wish) and then you will be more assured about the name being accepted by the Manitoba government.
Keep that there is never any guarantee that a government is going to accept the name. It depends on the internal policies of the government and it also depends on the government examiners. Some of them are more difficult than others and reject names when the conflicts are not that close.
Some governments will allow you three choices for a name for the price of one name search report. This gives you a better chance of having one of your names accepted and in cases such as that you might not need to do a preliminary name search. One of the ways to ensure your name is accepted is to make absolutely sure that you have a very descriptive name. Refer to the section on choosing a name for more information.