Tips on Selecting an Acceptable Name

Corporate names are normally made up of a distinctive (unique) element, a descriptive element, and a corporate identifier (Incorporated, Inc., Corporation, Corp., Limited, Ltd.), in that order.


ABC Widgets Inc.

Distinctive Element: ABC
Descriptive Element: Widgets
Corporate Identifier: Inc.

In British Columbia, the use of all three elements is mandatory for all corporate names. In all other jurisdictions, the use of a descriptive element is not mandatory, but is strongly recommended.

Corporate identifiers are optional for not-for-profit corporation names.

Unincorporated business names (sole proprietorships and partnerships) cannot include a corporate identifier at the end of their names.

Your proposed name cannot be identical or confusingly similar to any existing trademark, corporate name or reserved name in the jurisdiction of incorporation/registration. For example, if a company named TechMedia Inc. already exists, you should not name your business TekMedia Inc., TecMedia Inc. or TechMedia Ltd.

New Business cannot and does not verify whether a proposed name infringes upon the legal rights of other individuals or businesses. You bear full responsibility to select a name which does not cause such infringement. We recommend that you obtain legal advice from a qualified lawyer to determine whether infringement and potential legal liability exists in relation to your proposed name.

French & Bilingual Names

Companies operating in the Province of Quebec must use a French name. Either their primary name must be in French, or they must declare a French version of their name in addition to any English name.

In Quebec, the additional legal elements compagnie, Société par actions, or s.a. may be used to identify a limited liability company. The corporate identifiers Corporation and Corp. cannot be used as part of a French corporate name.

If you are searching for a bilingual corporate name, please include separate English and French versions of the name separated by a slash (/), or one bilingual name.  If separate English and French versions of the corporate name are to be used, the distinctive (unique) element of the name should be identical, rather than translated in both languages.

Bilingual names may require multiple name searches at additional cost. We will contact you if more than one name search is required in order to reserve your bilingual corporate name.