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Why Register Your Non-French Trademarks in Canada

Recently, on May 13, the Quebec Government introduced Bill 96. This Bill proposes new amendments to several pieces of legislation, including to the Charter of the French language. One of the proposed amendments addresses the use of non-French trademarks in Quebec. Specifically, the proposed amendment concerns trademarks that are exclusively in a language other than French. Currently, the French language laws under the Trademarks Act outline that a "recognized trademark" may appear exclusively in a language other than French provided no French version of the mark has been registered. The proposed Bill 96 intends to restrict this "recognized trademark" exception for marks appearing on public signs, posters and commercial advertising.


What About Common Law Marks?

In addition, common law marks will no longer be allowed to be displayed in a language other than French on public signs and posters and in commercial advertising. If a business wants to continue to use their common law marks in English or in any other language that is not French in the province of Quebec, then the business will need to register their common law marks. It is


important to keep in mind that if the proposed amendments and Bill 96 is adopted, businesses that currently rely on the exception for common law trademarks should consider registering any non-French trademarks. If you require assistance with understanding the registrability requirements of any common law mark, contact us here.


What Happens Next?

These proposed amendments are set to be in force 3 years after the date of the acceptance of Bill 96. Nonetheless, it is important to note that businesses must be aware that the Canadian Intellectual Property Office ("CIPO") is currently experiencing delays in the examination of trademark applications. Canadian trademark applications may take up to 2 years before it is even examined. However, recently, the Trademarks Office has enacted a new protocol that may bring some assistance to the issue of delayed examinations of trademark application: the ability to request expedited examination of a trademark application.


If you want assistance with expediting your Canadian trademark application, contact us today! You can also read more about requests for expedited examination here.


What Are The Benefits of Trademark Registration?

The company’s brand is an invaluable corporate asset and trademarks law is the ultimate legal tool to protect that asset. Owning IP rights can create a competitive advantage for your business, allowing your company’s IP to turn intangible assets. Some of the ways in which IP rights can help your business include:

  • Increase your company’s valuation

  • Protect your company’s hard-earned reputation

  • Generate a new revenue stream through licensing

  • Show investors that your company is innovative and worth investing in

  • Deter competitors from knocking off your company’s key products and services

  • Provide an enforcement tool

  • Obtain competitive intelligence on key competitors via IP data






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