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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Jul 01, 2021 (Newsletter Issue 13/21)
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Changes to French Language Laws Proposed by Quebec's Bill 96

On May 13, the Quebec Government introduced Bill 96 - An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec that proposes significant changes to Quebec’s language laws. Once passed, Bill 96 would significantly strengthen French as the first language of commerce in Quebec.

Under the Trademarks Act, Quebec’s language laws allow for a trademark (e.g., a logo on an advertising poster) to be exclusively in another language as long as there were no versions of the mark registered in French (the "recognized Trademark" exception).

Under Bill 96, this exception is narrowed considerably. For example, if a company displays a trademark name in English using the current exception for recognized trademarks, it must ensure that the mark is "markedly predominant" in French and it may need to register for an updated trademark.

Further information can be seen here. The Bill 96 can be accessed here.