Trademark 101 – How do I make sure my preferred business name is not taken?
February 17, 2021 By: Wing T. Yan and Taiji Yoshino Read Time: 2 minutes
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While it is stressful for many people going through this COVID-19 pandemic, and lockdown forcing many of us to work from home, this pandemic allows us to have more spare time at home. If you are like me, you may be thinking of many different ideas, including ideas for starting up a new business.   

How can I make sure that my new business name is not taken by others?

Now, after coming up with a new business idea and a new business name, a first question that many people would ask is “How can I make sure that my new business name is not taken by others?”  No one wants to change the business name after using it, and costs for re-branding by changing name can be very expensive. 

There are a number of tools that we can use to make sure that the name is not taken in Canada or Ontario. The followings are some examples: 

  1. Business name searches using NUANS: 

NUANS is a Government of Canada’s search tool for business names and trademarksHere is a link to NUANS – Home – Nuans 

  2. Search using Canadian trademark database 

Here is a link to Canadian Trademark database: Search – Canadian Trademarks Database – Intellectual property and copyright – Canadian Intellectual Property Office – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada 

  3. Search using the Internet, such as Google, Bing, Canada411, etc. 

This type of searches will ensure that no one in Canada is using your name, as some of the names may not be registered as a registered trademark or corporate name.  In Canada (and some other countries), even if a company name was not registered as a trademark in Canada but has been used as a trademark in Canada for a period of time, the owner of that unregistered trademark may have certain rights.  

In conclusion, if you find any name(s) that is similar to what you come up with, and if you are not sure what to do, you will need a professional opinion.  We are always here to help. 

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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