As discussed in our recent article, “Advantages of Trademark Registrations in Québec: Avoiding the Need to Translate English Product Terms to French,” Québec, the predominantly French-speaking province of Canada, has a unique set of linguistic and cultural regulations affecting businesses in the region. One challenge to businesses is the legal requirement to translate English words on products into French. Currently, both common law and registered trademarks provide an exception, allowing businesses to maintain English branding in the Québec market. Upcoming changes to the regulation disallow permitted language exceptions related to common law or unregistered trademarks. However, the Québec government recently published draft amendments to the regulation that would be favorable to businesses that have not yet secured registered trademarks in Canada.
The Upcoming Need for Trademark Registrations in Canada
Québec’s Charter of the French Language, commonly known as Bill 101, protects and promotes the French language in the region. One aspect of Bill 101 mandates that businesses must use French in their signage, advertising and labeling of products sold in Québec. Generally, this requires that English brands or product terms in the Québec market must be translated into French in equal prominence.