How Do I Choose a Name for my Corporation?

When you have decided that it is time to incorporate, the next step is to choose the name for your corporation. This step is very important for many as it will be part of your brand moving forward.

The Corporate Registry has very clear rules as to what names will be acceptable and what names will not be acceptable.

The first Registry rule is that the name must have three elements as follows:

  1. A distinctive element, this can be a word that describes the business or the location. For example “Victoria” or “Sitka”;
  2. A descriptive element, this should describe what the company does. For example “Shoe Sales” or “law”; and
  3. A corporate designation which makes it clear that the business is incorporated. For example “corporation”, “Ltd.” or “Inc.”

Accordingly, when you combine the foregoing elements you have the legal name for the corporation, i.e. Sitka Law Corporation or Victoria Shoe Sales Inc.

The second Registry rule is that the Registry will reject names that conflict with pre-existing BC corporate names. Thus, it is always a good idea to do a quick search of the names that are already registered in BC through the Registry. This is something that, at Sitka Law, we automatically do for our clients prior to submitting the name approval request.

The third Registry rule is that the name must not be prohibited from use. There are some names that are not acceptable. These includes names that suggest an affiliation with the Crown or Royal Family, for example “Crown Painting Ltd.”. Names that are objectionable will also be rejected. This would include names that are vulgar, obscene and racial or sexual slurs.

Once you have chosen the name that you would like to have registered, you must submit it to the Registry for approval. Depending on the back log of name requests, the approval process can take weeks. If you are working on a strict timeline, you can pay an additional fee to the Registry to have the review expedited.

The Registry permits three names to be submitted at one time, thus we recommend our clients provide three unique names to us in the event that the first or second name requests are declined.

The final wrinkle may occur if you are planning to incorporate a corporation that will be part of a professional organization (i.e. a doctor, lawyer, realtor, dentist, chiropractor, physiotherapist, etc.). If your corporation will be part of a professional organization, the organization will likely have very specific naming rules for the corporation and the Registry may require approval from your regulatory body prior to approving a name. At Sitka Law Group, we will review the regulations with you in order that you can choose a name that complies with your regulatory body.

If you would like to discuss the foregoing further or if you wish to obtain general information regarding your estate or incapacity planning, please contact our corporate lawyers today for a free initial consultation. Victoria BC Lawyers, Sitka Law Group is conveniently located on Shelbourne Street near the intersection of the borders of Victoria, Oak Bay and Saanich.