Trademarks that have no registered French version may be displayed on public signs and advertising in Quebec. In a unanimous ruling, five judges of Quebec's Court of Appeal have confirmed an elaborate Superior Court judgment that reasserts the traditional interpretation of Quebec regulations that expressly allow trademarks to be displayed on commercial signs and advertising. The language of the trademark is not an issue unless a French version of the trademark has been registered, in which case it must be used wherever the law requires French.
In recent years, the Office québécois de la langue française has taken the position that when a trademark is displayed on a business storefront or inside a business establishment, it is used as a business name. Consequently, it argued, the trademark must comply with rules applicable to business names. Those allow a non-French word to be part of the name but require that it be accompanied by a general descriptive term in French. The oft-repeated example is Café Second Cup. Quebec courts have now rejected that position and reaffirmed the right to post only the trademark, unaccompanied by a generic descriptor.
The Attorney General has not yet announced her decision on whether to seek leave to appeal the judgment to the Supreme Court of Canada.