Naming Your Corporation

Picking the Perfect Name for Your Corporation

In chosing a name for your corporation, it's a good idea to start the process with several choices, and then research those that are available. It's very possible that your first choice may not be.

In general, no Corporate registry in Alberta  will allow the filing of Articles of Incorporation if the corporate name is the same as, or closely resembles, any name on Canada's official list of corporate names. 

Another reason for starting with several choices for your corporate name is that not only will you be choosing a name and incorporating to do business in Alberta, but you may also be choosing an Internet domain name for your corporation. If possible, having the corporate name bear some relation to the corporation's domain name is preferable. Because of the international aspects of the Internet, the selection of a domain name increases the possibilities that you'll be unable to use your first choice of a domain name.

Choose a Desirable, Usable Name

Be aware of spelling and punctuation variations of your chosen name; just because a name is spelt differently does not mean that the name can be approved.  

It's wise to steer clear of purely geographic or generic names, because they're easy to forget and difficult to protect. Geographic names can be very limiting, particularly when it's likely that your corporation will have a Web site that's accessible from anywhere in the world.

Ask for Suggestions

One final inquiry should be to ask colleagues, business associates, customers, clients, vendors, friends, and even spouses, siblings, and parents, for suggestions and comments on your name choices. You might end up with a perfect reason to eliminate a name you thought was great. And best of all, not only are these suggestions useful, but they're also free.


Legal Restrictions and Requirements for Name

Each province will have its own specific legal restrictions on corporate names. These restrictions can be as simple as stating preference for upper or lower case, or they can prevent the corporation from having certain words in its name, such as "bank," "financial institution," "cooperative," "Federal," "Reserve," or "National".

Due to provincial jurisdictions you must follow any naming requirements and legal restrictions of the province in which you have chosen to incorporate. A corporation is generally identified with a corporate designator at the end of its name, such as "Corporation," "Incorporated," "Limited," or an abbreviation of the preceding, "Corp.," "Inc.," or "Ltd.".
Swear words or words that appear to be "obscene" are prohibited.

 

Check Name Availability in Chosen Province of Incorporation

The general rule for corporate names is that they must be unique. In other words, there may not be more than one corporation per name per state. Furthermore, a new corporation may not have a name that is deceptively or confusingly similar to a registered corporation in good standing. This is true even if you wish to use your own name in your corporate name. Placing a .com, or .net at the end of a corporate name is considered a part of any corporation's name, so that adding .com or .net to a name similar, or the same as one you desire, will not make that name available to you if the name is already in use.

To determine whether your name is available in Alberta, Business Care Corp. will contact the Alberta Registries.  If another corporation has the name you want, you can't use it. For legal reasons you will need to pick a completely different name.  Once it's determined that a name is available, the name is reserved for 90 days.