New Language Law Frustrates Retail Businesses

Several major retail businesses, including Walmart, Best Buy and Costco, are challenging the Quebec government in court over language laws insisting that their logos include French.

The Office Québécois de la Langue Française wants these businesses to either give their trademarks a generic French name, or add a slogan or explanation reflecting what kinds of products they are selling. Retail businesses are challenging these demands based on the fact that language laws have not been changed and are questioning whether the language office has the authority to make these demands. Although section 63 of Quebec’s French Language Charter states that the name of a businesses must be in French, it has not been applied to trademarks.

Retailers do not wish to spend money on adding a French component to their trademarks. They already spend much money on designers who create their logos in a particular way that allows businesses to market their trademarks effectively. Logos are specially designed so they can be easily applied to sign boards, stationary, advertisements, and more. Adding another element to the logo just for Quebec can be costly.

The main issue is the fact that the language law itself has not changed. The old law is merely being reinterpreted in a way that, according to the Quebec government, justifies this new language requirement. The two parties are expected to meet Thursday at the Quebec Superior Court.

For the full article from CBC:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/11/18/big-retailers-french-signs-court.html

About ZS

First year law student at the Univeristy of Victoria. Graduated from UBC with a major in International Relations and a minor in English Literature in 2012. The views expressed in the blog are not necessarily those of AdviceScene, nor the writer, nor do they consistute legal advice.

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