Ruling in Favour of Retailers For English Language Signage
If you live or lived in Quebec, you are all too familiar with the French language police and their life mission to enforce the French language on signage and commercial advertisements upon retailers in an attempt to preserve and maintain the French language. Well, if you are Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Gap, Old Navy, Toys “R” Us or Curves and the Quebec market is a tiny fraction of your global market, you are enough of a giant that you are able to challenge the Office de La Langue Francaise and ask the courts to determine whether the Office is within their rights to impose language laws on your business.
These retailers lead the court challenge against French signs and on April 16th, 2014, the Quebec Superior Court held that companies are exempt from changing their trademarks. Meaning, Wal-Marts and Best Buys of the retail world don’t need to register their trademarks in the French language. However, despite the legal ruling that retailers don’t need to register an equivalent trademark in French, Justice Yergeau indicated that “Nothing prevents companies who so wish to add a French descriptive or slogan to the English trademarks they display on their storefronts, like many have done voluntarily, contributing at the same time to the preservation of Quebec’s French face.”
Fashion Justice Commentary:
That’s life in La Belle Province. You can never escape the language law and the language police and you can truly only understand this if you have lived or live in Quebec.