NUANS – How it Came to Be

As we discussed earlier in one of our blog posts, NUANS is a search system designed to automatically retrieve confusingly similar names of companies from a database which contains data on all registered corporations across Canada, with the exception of Quebec.

NUANS is a robust system that utilizes complicated logic to analyze corporate names. However, like most of robust systems it started rather small.

NUANS originated in 1971 from the development by Dr. David Blaxell of a much smaller “Automated Name Search” system. At that time he was employed by a Trade Mark search firm in USA. As “Automated Name Search” system proved to be efficient after its implementation in 1972, the Federal Government purchased its copy and hired Dr. Blaxell for further development and maintenance of the system. In the course of his employment with the Federal Government, Dr. Blaxell substantially refined the name search system to dramatically improve its ability to provide accurate search results. The new system that resulted from these became known as NUANS.

NUANS was used for the first time in 1977.

In 1981, the operations of the NUANS system were licensed out to a private company. The system has proven to be very effective to the point where several provinces would start requiring that all proposed corporate names be cleared through NUANS searches. Originally, the jurisdictions that opted in to regularly relying on NUANS were Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Yukon.

Throughout time, Federal Government invested heavily into research and development of NUANS system further improving its performance. Then in 1994 migrated the NUANS software to upgrade its architecture and re-wrote it in a standard programming language so that it would be easily portable to different computer systems.

In 1998, NUANS became available to NUANS members via its new website The

In 2000, the new NUANS Pre-Search system was launched.

Today, NUANS offers a great variety of services in both B2C and B2B relations. Services include NUANS searches and Pre-Searches, NUANS validations and reservations, NUANS trademark notifications and more.

Contact ESC Corporate Services to learn how you or your organization can benefit from NUANS services that we provide via our eService platform.


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