Basic Trademark Search
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Canada and U.S. Trademark Searches and Applications prepard by Arvic Search Services

Good Business Names

You can understand how important your business name will be two months, and especially ten years down the road. Selecting a good name right from the start is more important than you may imagine. 

A good name consists of:

First - A Distinctive element.

    This is a word or phrase that clearly distinguishes your name from every other name in your field of competition, or even the marketplace as a whole. This word or phrase can be your own name or one that you have coined or invented.  

Second - A Descriptive element

    This word or phrase describes to the public the nature of your work, the services you offer or the products that you sell. If you are in the trucking business, then do not be afraid to state so. 

Third - A Legal Element

    Each province requires that each for profit corporation include as part of its name one of the following legal elements:

    Limited or Ltd., Corporation or Corp., Incorporated or Inc, Limitée or Ltée., Corporation or Corp., Incorporée or Inc.

    All Provinces will also allow, under certain circumstances, the word "Canada" as the legal element.

Unfortunately, many businesses misconstrue these three elements into bad business names. 

At the top of the list of bad names are Numbered Companies operating in the public realm, 11223344 Alberta Ltd. The public perceives a numbered company as having something to hide. It seems that every time you read about a corrupt business deal, or a company profiled on some "consumer watch" program, a numbered company is behind it. For this reason, numbered companies have negative connotations with the public.

We believe that any name that contains laudatory or ambiguous terms such as; holdings, enterprises, developments, investments, international, trading or communications; to name just a few, are all bad terms to use if you carry on business before the public, Sunrise Holdings Inc.. The public will have no idea what you do, what products you sell, or what services you offer. 

To demonstrate this, try forming a distinctive corporate name by adding any laudatory term; above, in the middle of the phrase Bill's ____ Ltd. Now ask yourself. What does Bill do for a living? If you saw his name in the white pages of your phone book would you be reminded to call him? Once you saw the company name would you know what products or services Bill offers? If you remembered that Bill had a business would you know what section of the yellow pages to search for his phone number? 

Make it easy for your potential customers to find you by having a distinctive and descriptive element to your name. Stand out, don't blend into the crowd.

We certainly do not advise our customers to use intials as the distinctive element, JJ Trucking Ltd. We can all think of a couple of companies that have used initials successfully. IBM and A&W come to mind, however, who can think of 10 more, especially locally owned companies. Using initials as your only distinctive element, will hardly set you apart from all the other businesses out there. Initials are not distinctive, not unique, and not memorable. 

Trying to use a geographical place to gain a competitive advantage is not a sound investment either. Calling your business Toronto International Trading Ltd. does not necessarily qualify as a distinctive name because of the fact that there are a thousand other companies within Toronto that could be using the geographic element in their name. Granted, they might be Toronto Hair Stylers Ltd, or Toronto Electronics Inc, but you still lose some of your uniqueness for every "Toronto" company formed, and that is where the public's confusion begins.

Far to many people who form companies believe that their name needs to be broad enough to encompass any activity that they may ever get involved in. However, any business should really be trying to make their distinctive element known, and not be concerned with the supposed limitations of their descriptive element. Build up the goodwill of your unique name and then perhaps get a trademark registered to protect all subsequent business ventures that may be formed. 

Also, if your business does substantially diversify and grow, you can also create divisions and related companies to handle your new activities.

In summary, a good name is one that tells the public who you are, what you do and the fact that you are incorporated. If we use our firms name, Arvic Search Services Inc., as an example then;

  • the word "ARVIC" tells the public who we are because it is distinct and unique;
  • the term "SEARCH SERVICES" tells the public what we do; and
  • the "INC" denotes the fact that we are incorporated.

We urge you to give your choice of name some consideration. Remember, if the name works, you will reap the benefits for a very long time, but if it doesn't, you could be put out of business.


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