One of the most fun, and sometimes most difficult, parts of setting up a company is selecting the perfect name. In this article we will introduce some of the elements which must be included in a corporation’s name and discuss some of the things to consider in choosing a name for your company.
The name you choose for your company must be approved by BC Registry Services. In British Columbia, a company’s name must include three parts:
- a distinctive element to distinguish one company from another such that the services or wares offered by the company are distinguishable from those offered by another company (Ex. ABC);
- a descriptive element to describe the type of services or wares provided by the company (Ex. Consulting); and
- a corporate designation (Ex. Inc., Ltd., Corp., Incorporated, Limited, or Corporation or the French translation of same – note, there is no difference between the noted options, it is just a question of preference).
A company’s name may not imply a connection to the government or royal family or include a year with the exception of the year of incorporation. There are also various words which cannot be included in your company’s name without express approval from the applicable administrative body. These prohibited words include, but are not limited to: “Architects”, “Bank”, “Board of Trade”, “Co-Operative”, “Credit union”, “Dentist”, “Doctor”, “Engineer”, “Insurance”, “MD”, “Provincial”, “Psychology”, “Real Estate Agent”, “Royal Canadian Mounted Police”, and “Trust”.
In addition to determining whether or not a name complies with the technical requirements, BC Registry Services reviews each name request against the names of all existing companies registered in British Columbia including companies extraprovincially registered in British Columbia. If a name is likely to mislead or confuse the public, as determined in the discretion of BC Registry Services, the name will be rejected.
You may include up to three names in your request to BC Registry Services without incurring additional fees. BC Registry Services will stop investigating your requested names once one is approved. Accordingly, we recommend that you list your names in order of preference from your first to third choice.
Before submitting a name request, or asking your lawyer to do so, we recommend that you consider the following:
- Does your preferred name comply with the requirements set out above?
- Is your name likely to mislead or confuse the public taking into consideration the names of existing companies in British Columbia as determined by a current search with BC Registry Services?
- Is your name similar to the name of another company as determined by a Google search?
- Is your name similar to a registered trademark as determined by a search in the Canadian Trademarks Database (your lawyer can assist you in this search or it can be done online for free)?
- If you intend on creating a website and/or social media accounts, is your preferred URL and/or account name(s) available?
If you would like us to conduct preliminary due diligence on your preferred name(s) or request a name for your company on your behalf, please contact one of our lawyers practicing in the area of corporate law. We would be happy to assist and answer any questions you may have with respect to the above or the incorporation process in general.
Author: Danielle (Dani) Brito
This information is general in nature only. You should consult a lawyer before acting on any of this information. This information should not be considered as legal advice. To learn more about your legal needs, please contact our office at (250)448-2637 or any of our lawyers practicing in the area of business law at the following:Una Gabie: firstname.lastname@example.org Jennette Vopicka: email@example.com Danielle (Dani) Brito: firstname.lastname@example.org