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There are many things that are boring and tedious about starting a new business, but choosing a name typically isn’t one of them. For most new entrepreneurs, this is the fun part.

However, if you are considering incorporating your business, there are a few things to consider when naming your business.

First, the name should have three elements:

  1. A distinctive element. As the name suggests, this distinguishes your corporate name from other companies that offer similar services. Let’s say you have chosen, “AAA Plumbing Services, Ltd.” for your new business. The distinctive element would be the “AAA” part of the name.
  2. A descriptive element serves to describe the type of services you provide. In our example, Plumbing Services tells prospective clients your area of expertise.
  3. You need to consider corporate designation. Although there isn’t a substantive or practical difference between the options, you will need to choose between: “Inc.,” “Ltd.” or “Corp.” In our example, Ltd. would be the corporate designation. Of course, if you are not incorporating your business, you cannot register a name with one of these designations.

Second, there are certain words that are taboo when naming a business. You cannot, for instance, use obscene language in corporate names, or imply a connection to the government or the RCMP. You also have to be careful that your name doesn’t mislead to an affiliation with a university or professional association. If your corporation includes activities of a financial nature, you will need federal or provincial regulatory consent to include anything in the name that connotes the business of a bank or stock exchange.

Third, you will want to get a Nuans report. This report lists business names and trademarks to ensure your proposed name isn’t already being used. Although you can register a duplicate business name with the Registry Office, this can leave you open to future legal disputes.

Lastly, should choose a name that stands out, informs people of what you do and isn’t impossible to remember or type into a search engine.

If any of this sounds daunting, it would be beneficial to talk to Lift Legal about whether the name you have chosen violates any rules, or if it already exists in the Canadian Trademark Database. We can also help you incorporate and register your business name. Contact Lift Legal today to ask us any questions you may have about your new business.

Mel Garbe

Mel founded Lift Legal with the goal of delivering cost effective legal services without sacrificing capability by effectively using modern tools to access the types of resources that larger law firms have access to. The result being that Lift Legal provides high level professional services at a greater value.

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