June 23, 2015
By François Larose and Brigitte Chan
The Québec Government announced on June 17, 2015 that it will not appeal the Québec Court of Appeal’s April decision confirming that the Office québécois de la langue française cannot require trademark owners to add a French descriptor to their trademarks used on public signage in another language than French in the province of Québec.
Instead, the Government announced that it will amend the Regulations under the Charter of the French Language to address this issue, by requiring all businesses to add a French-language descriptor, slogan or generic name. However, it suggested that this requirement would not necessitate any alteration of business brands. Many trademark owners may be concerned that adding additional generic words may “alter” the distinctive appearance of their brands. Hopefully, the amended Regulations will address this concern.
The new Regulations are expected to be tabled this fall, followed by a 45-day consultation period. The Regulations would then come into force after publication in the Gazette officielle which could be in early 2016.
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