Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why Do a Preliminary Name Search before Ordering a full Nuans Report

By Holly Crosgrey

In Canada the governments in all of the provinces and territories require some form of name search report prior to incorporating a company and in many Canadian jurisdictions before you register a business name, partnership or sole proprietorship.

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. Having a preliminary name search done prior to ordering a full search can save money in the long run.

The full name search is reviewed by the government to determine if there are any names which can be consider a conflict. It does this before it allows you to register your business. The federal government in particular will not accept a proposed name that sounds similar to a company name already registered.

As part of the service of a search house, it is normal practice for the search house to do a preliminary name search as part of the service of ordering the full Nuans name search. It is important that you know in advance of ordering your name search that the preliminary name search is part of the service. If you do not require a name search to register as would be the case in some territories or provinces for partnerships, business names or sole proprietorships then you would need to pay separately for a preliminary name search. I will explain this further below.

There is no guarantee that a name is going to be accepted by a government just because you have a name search report for that proposed name. If a preliminary name search is not part of the service of the search house when you order a Nuans name search or similar search report then you should look for another search house. A Nuans search house has the ability to order a Nuans report without a pre-check of the name but a fully trained search house would never do so without a preliminary check of the name just to try and rule out any advance conflicts.

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 force you to change your company name 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.

The search house will provide the Nuans name search report or similar name search report to you by email and you should take some time to review the report to ensure for yourself that the name you wish to use is not too similar to another name already registered.

You can incorporate a company in Ontario that is different in any way. Considering the above example, the only difference is the ending of the name. Therefore it would be accepted. On the other hand if you were dealing with the federal government it would never be accepted for 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 this instance you would purchase a preliminary name search. To summarize when it is not a government requirement to provide a name search report (or Nuans) upon registering a sole proprietorship, partnership or business name a preliminary name search should be performed in advance of registering. You should also be aware that many search houses will provide you with a free preliminary name search if you purchase the registration of a sole proprietorship, business name or partnership with them in cases where a name search is not needed. If you are not clear on the websites policy, contact them and ask.

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