Trademarks And The French Language Issue In Quebec


Businesses distributing or marketing products or services in Quebec must be mindful of the impact of the province’s recent change of policy concerning the regulation of French language requirements in labeling and advertising. The revised guidelines of the Office Québécois de Ia langue française (the "Office") signal a change to a stricter interpretation of the regulation under the Charter of the French Language (the "Charter").

The Charter provides that every marking on a product or on a document or object supplied with it, along with catalogues, brochures and similar publications, must be drafted in the French language. While the inscription may be accompanied by a translation, no inscription in another language may be given greater prominence than the French version. Public signs, posters and commercial advertising may be both in French and in another language, provided that French is markedly predominant.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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