What Is NUANS? And 3 Ways You Can Be Using It Right Now

Oct 10, 2016

If you are, or have been, searching for a business name in Canada you may have heard of NUANS, but like a lot of people you may not be sure exactly what it is or how to use it.

Today we’re going to talk about what NUANS is and 3 great ways it is being used to meet various business search needs.

So let’s dive in…

Search your business name ideas with our FREE NUANS Preliminary Search

What is NUANS?

NUANS (pronounce “nuance”) is an automated name search of the various registrations across Canada. In fact, the name NUANS is actually an acronym for Newly Updated Automated Name Search.

The NUANS database is maintained by Industry Canada and contains records for Corporations, Sole Proprietorships, General Partnerships, Operating Names, and Trademarks across Canada.

Beyond simply being the most complete registration database available in Canada, a NUANS Name Reservation Search uses a variety of complex algorithms to produce highly accurate, and repeatable search results when searching for business names. The algorithms compare things such as keyword matches, spelling variations, and phonetically similar words to find potentially conflicting business names that are already registered.

Originally the system was created as a tool to provide an efficient, and effective way of searching existing registrations to compare for potential conflicts when a new business name is being applied for registration.

Although the NUANS system was originally designed to prevent new registrations from being confusingly similar to existing registrations, the NUANS database contains some valuable information and can be searched for other purposes such as verifying that a corporation is registered and still active in Canada.

If there is any doubt that the NUANS database is the most complete database for registration searches in Canada, just remember that when a Trademark is registered, which is the highest level of name protection available in Canada, the federal government requires a NUANS Name Reservation Report to be submitted along with the application in order to verify the name is available for registration before issuing a name decision.

If the database is the standard for even the highest level of name registration in Canada, we can have confidence that it is reliable and accurate for other business searches as well.


How is it used?

Now that we’ve established that the NUANS database is the most comprehensive and reliable database in Canada, how can we use it?


1. Checking if a business name is available for registration.

Many people planning or starting a business, will want to know if any, or all, of their business name ideas are available for registration. They may not be ready to register the business yet, but want to find out if the name they want to use is already registered.

In this case, you would want to complete a Free NUANS Preliminary Search for your business name ideas. The Preliminary Search is a search of the NUANS database, but is an exact match search. This means it will only search for an exact match of the term you are searching. As a result it is important to search variations of the name as well. For example, if you are search a name with an ‘&’, you should also search using the word ‘and’ when doing a preliminary search.

In fact, if you want to check to see if a name is available try out our Free NUANS Preliminary Search.


2. Verifying a Canadian Corporation exists and is Active in Canada.

Before going into business, or some other financial arrangement, with a Canadian business many people and organizations want to verify that the corporation they are about to do business with is actually a registered business and still active in Canada.

For example, if a Canadian Corporation is expanding into the US, they may apply for a mortgage or some other business loans from a US lender. The US based lender may want to verify that the corporation is actually formally registered and active in Canada in order to avoid being defrauded.

If they simply want to verify that the Company is registered and active they could simply complete a Free NUANS Preliminary Search and the search results would provide this information. They could further verify the information by comparing the listed Jurisdiction and Number, with the information provided to them in the loan application.


3. Registration of a Corporation in Canada.

One of the most common uses of the NUANS database, and the original purpose of the system, is for the registration of Corporations, and other protected names in Canada.

In many jurisdictions across Canada, including Federal and Ontario, a NUANS Name Reservation Report is required when registering a Named Corporation. This report is a 7-page report that provides a list of business and Trademark names that could be in potential conflict with the proposed name, and therefore, is used for the approval of the proposed business name. The report also reserves the proposed name for registration for 90 days.



The NUANS database is the most complete and authoritative database for business and trademark registrations available in Canada. It is maintained by Industry Canada and updated regularly to ensure the information remains accurate and reliable.

Like most databases, the NUANS database provides some valuable information for a variety of uses. Whether you want to verify a Canadian Corporation or business is registered and still active or you are searching for a name for your business, the NUANS database will be a valuable resource for you!


Free NUANS Preliminary Search
Free NUANS Preliminary Search
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