Last Updated on December 1, 2022 by Ithos Global Regulatory Team
Three Key Changes Impact English and French Trademarks
By Adrienne Gabriel, Ithos Regulatory Team
Whether you’re currently selling in Québec, Canada or planning to expand there, new French translation requirements for products sold there now far exceed rules for the rest of the country, especially regarding trademarks.
Last Spring, Bill 96 or the “Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec” made several important changes, including:
- All label copy must appear in both French and English, with the French being of equal or greater prominence, regardless of trademark.
- Trademarks must be registered. Pending registrations are no longer permitted. For an English trademark to appear on product labeling, the registration process must be complete.
- An English trademark cannot have a corresponding French version registered in Canada, otherwise both must appear on product labeling.
- If an English registered trademark contains generic or descriptive words, they must also appear in French on product labeling.
- The new rules affect products being sold in Québec beginning June 1st, 2025.
Ithos is recommending that brands review both current and future product portfolios, applying for necessary trademarks as soon as possible. In the past, delays with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office had taken up to three years for trademark approval.
Brands should also know the new bill not only impacts product labeling, but it affects other areas such as employment documents, contracts, and public signage. Given the bill’s complexity and new translation requirements, Ithos continues to monitor industry opposition and will alert customers of any reversals or changes in policy.
If you need help with your current product labeling or have questions about the impact of the new rule on your business, contact Ithos today.