Québec - Ruling of Superior Court on whether trademarks can be displayed in a language other than FrenchPrint
The Quebec Superior Court has delivered its judgment concerning the motion for a declaratory judgment and decision on the following question: must a trademark in a language other than French, if used on signs, posters and commercial advertising, be accompanied by a descriptive term of a generic nature in French in order to comply with the Charter of the French Language?
The judge accepts the conclusions sought by members of RCC:
- The OQLF may not require the addition of a generic term in French when the trademark is displayed on storefront signs or in advertisements in a language other than French, unless a registered French version of the trademark exists.
- The OQLF may not suspend francization certificates of, or impose financial penalties upon, businesses that do not add a French generic to their trademark.
- The OQLF may not deem the trademark to be the name of the business, that is, the name which is duly registered in the Registraire des entreprises. According to the judge, these are two distinct concepts.
Some RCC members who were using their trademarks in a language other than French on their storefronts in Quebec had begun to receive prosecutions from the OQLF because they did not use a French generic or descriptive term on their storefront.
Certain members, and RCC as an intervenor, had decided to seek a declaratory judgment in Superior Court in order to rule on the power of the OQLF to require the addition of a generic.
In the days ahead, RCC’s Quebec office will handle media communications, if necessary.
We will also monitor the response of the new Quebec government, which may still decide to appeal the ruling.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact, Jean-Guy Côté, Director, Government Relations and Public Affairs, at 514-982-0267, extension 332, or email [email protected]