The Quebec Superior Court has decided, in a long-awaited
judgment, that businesses in Quebec may continue to display their
trademarks on public signs outside their premises solely in a
language other than French if no French version of the trademark
has been registered.1
The Charter of the French Language requires that
advertising generally be in French. However, there is an exception
in the law for trademarks if no French version of the mark has been
In recent years, the Office québécois de la langue
française (OQLF) has taken the position that this trademark
exception does not allow trademarks to be displayed outside a
business, or in most other places, unless it is accompanied by a
generic term such as "magasin," or "boutique"
or "café." The OQLF has contended that a trademark
displayed on business premises is used as a business name and
should therefore comply with the rule governing names. That rule
requires that a French generic term be added to any expression in
Seven retailers and one franchiser made a motion to the Superior
Court asking the court to decide whether the trademark exception
allows the display of their trademarks unaccompanied by a French
descriptor. The court agreed with the businesses and rejected the
OQLF's assimilation of trademarks to business names. The
judgment was rendered on April 9, 2014. The Attorney General has 30
days to file an appeal.
Norton Rose Fulbright represented seven of the eight
plaintiffs in the case.
1Magasins Best Buy ltée et al., c.
Procureur général du Québec, CSM
500-17-074083-125, April 9, 2014, M. Yergeau j.c.s.
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
Norton Rose Fulbright is a global legal practice. We provide
the world's pre-eminent corporations and financial institutions
with a full business law service. We have more than 3800 lawyers
based in over 50 cities across Europe, the United States, Canada,
Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Central
Recognized for our industry focus, we are strong across all
the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy;
infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and
innovation; and life sciences and healthcare.
Wherever we are, we operate in accordance with our global
business principles of quality, unity and integrity. We aim to
provide the highest possible standard of legal service in each of
our offices and to maintain that level of quality at every point of
Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, Norton Rose Fulbright Australia,
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Norton Rose Fulbright South
Africa (incorporated as Deneys Reitz Inc) and Fulbright &
Jaworski LLP, each of which is a separate legal entity, are members
('the Norton Rose Fulbright members') of Norton Rose
Fulbright Verein, a Swiss Verein. Norton Rose Fulbright Verein
helps coordinate the activities of the Norton Rose Fulbright
members but does not itself provide legal services to
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.
A recent Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench decision allowed a court-appointed receiver to sell and transfer intellectual property rights free and clear of encumbrances, finding that a license to use improvements of an invention was a contractual interest and not a property interest.
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).