In April, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled in favor of retailers, the RCC and the International Trademark Association (INTA), stating that the Quebec government, via the Charter of the French Language and its regulation, could not force companies to add a French generic descriptor to a trademark displayed in a language other than French.

Following the decision of the Court of Appeal in April, the Quebec government had until June 26 to announce whether it appeals to the Supreme Court.

Premier Philippe Couillard has expressed in harsh words his willingness to impose the generic descriptor on retailers, stating that they showed “a basic lack of consideration towards their customers.”

Current situation:

Minister Hélène David, who is responsible for the Protection and Promotion of the French Language, held a press conference on June 17 on the issue of displaying trademarks in a language other than French.

Here is a summary of her announcement:

  • The government will not file an appeal with the Supreme Court;
  • The Quebec government will ensure that storefronts reflect the French character of Quebec;
  • Under the regulation, storefront posting will be affected. No requirement to translate the trademark;
  • The integrity of trademarks will be preserved and respected, since they are under federal and international jurisdiction;
  • There will be flexibility as to possible options and on how to comply with the new regulation. Addition of a permanent descriptor in French—generic or descriptive, even a slogan, for example: “le meilleur café au Québec”;
  • The regulation will be announced in fall 2015;
  • The regulation will be in force in early 2016, with interim measures.

Next steps:

  • We have asked to meet with the Minister responsible, and will participate in future consultations.

If you have questions, ease don’t hesitate to contact  Maxime P. Leduc, Communications and Public Policy Coordinator, at 514-982-0267, poste 334 or via email at [email protected].