On June 12, 2015, Premier Philippe Couillard announced the
Québec Government's intention to amend the
province's language legislation (the Charter of the French
Language) in order to force businesses to include a French
descriptive or generic term when using non-French trademarks on
The Minister responsible for the protection and promotion of the
French language, Hélène David, confirmed that the
amendment would be introduced by regulation sometime this Fall, and
would likely only come into force in early 2016, given the standard
45-day consultation period. While the specific wording and scope of
the amendment is not yet known, it is expected that the amendment
would require businesses to add a French slogan, generic word or
description of the product or service they are marketing to their
storefront signs (e.g., Les cafés Second Cup), rather than
requiring them to translate their trademarks into French. No word
yet on whether a transition period will be provided to allow
retailers to comply with the additional obligations imposed by the
amendment, or the amount of the potential fines that would be
imposed for non-compliance. However, we will continue to monitor
the situation carefully.
The Government announcement comes at the heels of a
Québec Court of Appeal ruling in April, which confirmed that
businesses could continue to use their non-French registered
trademarks on storefront signs without running afoul of the
provincial rules governing the language of business. This ruling
confirmed the decision rendered by the Superior Court of
Québec last year, which was rendered in favour of six major
retailers who had decided to challenge the language
authorities' position on the subject.
The legislative route appears to have been favoured over an
appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. We invite you to look for
our future bulletins and alerts for additional information relating
to the proposed amendment and its impact on the retail sector. For
more on the Court of Appeal's ruling, read our
bulletin dated May 21, 2015.
The Federal Court dismissed a motion by Apotex seeking particulars from Allergan's pleading relating to the prior art, inventive concept, promised utility and sound prediction of utility of the patents at issue.
Last year we saw the Canadian Courts release trademark decisions that granted a rare interlocutory injunction, issued jailed sentences for failure to comply with injunctive relief, grappled with trademark and internet issues...
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