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Understanding NUANS Prescreen Search

The NUANS Pre-Search – An Explanation

A NUANS pre-search can be a useful search tool but it is necessary to understand the basics behind the search and the reporting format.

NUANS stands for Newly Updated Automated Name Search. Basically, NUANS is a sophisticated search engine that searches over 8,000,000 records of corporation names, trademarks and business names. Industry Canada, a department of the federal government, runs the program itself, while a private company has the contract to manage the “business” end. The private company in turn contracts with “Official Search Houses” who provide the actual service. All NUANS searches must go through these channels.

What Does the NUANS Pre-search Do?

  • Name Searching: The exact characters that you specify will be searched and only those. A fuller NUANS search that also covers common variants has built-in subroutines within the NUANS program determine these variants, but it does cost money.
  • Database Searching : NUANS has access to the Federal Incorporation Database, the Trademarks Registry, and most, but not all, provincial and territorial incorporation and/or business databases. The exact databases searched depends on the type of NUANS search you order, which in turn depends on your purpose in ordering the search.

De-coding the Search

There are 3 columns with the following headings: NAMES, JUR-NO./DATE and ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

Column 1: NAME

The first column contains the business name, corporate name, trade name or trademark. When a trademark is followed by a semi colon ( ; ), this means that there is a design mark involved. If there is a comma ( , ) at the beginning of a name, the name shown is probably part of a longer name.

Column 2: JUR-NO./DATE

The second column contains the jurisdiction code, the reference number and the date, in that order.

Jurisdiction Codes: The abbreviations for the jurisdictions are set out in this table:
CD Canada
AB Alberta
BC British Columbia
MB Manitoba
NB New Brunswick
NL Newfoundland and Labrador
NS Nova Scotia
NT North West Territories
NU Nunavut
ON Ontario
PE Prince Edward Island
QC Quebec
SK Saskatchewan
TM Trademark
YT Yukon

Reference No: For a trademark, this is the application number. Otherwise this will be the number assigned by the jurisdiction. With respect to the extra-provincial registration of proposed names, the “home jurisdiction” will appear to the right of the number. For proposed names, the reservation number will be preceded by “Prop-” and it is then followed by a jurisdiction code which can be found in this Proposed Use Jurisdiction Abbreviations table below.

Date: This column also contains the incorporation/registration date of the company. This is the application date of a trademark.


Column 3 contains all other jurisdiction specific information pertaining to the name. The type of information varies by jurisdiction and by the type of name involved. It can be used to help determine the current status of a name. There are over 25 pages of these codes.