The Office québécois de la langue
française (the Office) announced on June 1, 2012,
that starting this summer, it would conduct investigations on its
own initiative to identify businesses that are non-compliant with
the public signage provisions of the Charter of the French
Language (the Charter) and request that they make the
It also indicated that "it was time for the Office to
initiate other steps against businesses that refuse to post their
trade name in compliance with the Charter." The Office
is referring to its recent campaign to convince
businesses operating in Québec that use of English-only
trademarks on store-front signage must include a French generic
word or expression that describes the business. The
Office's justification is that while the Charter and its
Regulation respecting the language of commerce and
business provide that a recognized trademark may be
exclusively in a language other than French, the Charter also
requires that a business name be in French or, if its distinctive
feature is in another language, it must be accompanied by a French
generic descriptor. It is the Office's view that
store-front signage displays a business name, and must therefore be
accompanied by a French generic descriptor if not already
In view of this announcement, businesses in Québec
posting English-only trademarks on their store-front signage should
anticipate more attention from the Office and the risk of a
citation requiring changes, even if no complaint from consumers has
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
McCartney & Lennon, Jobs & Wozniak, Watson & Crick. We are all looking for synergistic collaborations. In life sciences, some of those collaborations may be with your employees, independent contractors or corporate research partners.
A recent decision of the Federal Court of Canada has highlighted the difficulties in asserting trademark and copyright rights related to the appearance of functional products with unique design elements.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).