OQLF beaten in court by multinational chain stores

Six multinational retail chains have won their case against the Office Québécois de la Langue Française.

WalMart, Best Buy, Costco, Gap, Old Navy and Guess had been told by the OQLF to add a French descriptor to their trademarked names, or risk losing their francisation certificates.

Quebec Superior Court has now ruled that the language office was out of line, and should not have threatened the stores with the loss of their certificates.

In a 58-page decision, Justice Michel Yergeau declared that “public signage by the plaintiffs of their trademarks exclusively in a language other than French, when there is no French version on the trademark, does not contravene the French language charter nor the law on the language of businesses.”

The OQLF has 30 days to appeal the ruling. A spokesperson says they are studying whether to go that route.

Read the Quebec Superior Court decision here.

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  1. Alex posted on 04/10/2014 10:46 AM
    Finally, some sanity in this crazy situation. I wonder if the OQLF will appeal and, if so, how much the appeal will cause taxpayers. Add that cost to the $88 million that the election campaign just cost us.
    1. antonio posted on 04/11/2014 06:26 AM
      @Alex Alex, that $88M was the best investment for our economy done by the PQ!
  2. william posted on 04/10/2014 11:00 AM
    The OQFL are studying whether or not to appeal this???
    Yes, let's waste even more tax payer money on very expensive lawyers to force Best Buy to add magasin after it's name. This sounds like a great use of my hard earned tax dollar.
    The OQFL must think that French speaking people are morons. They must assume that French speaking people walk up to a Best Buy or Walmart and say,"What is this...is it a government office, an apartment complex, a nightclub?" Then suddenly they notice the small letters that say magasin, "Oh, it's a store!"
    Absolutely ridiculous!!!
  3. Nica posted on 04/10/2014 11:18 AM
    All around a great week!
  4. markR posted on 04/10/2014 11:20 AM
    Justice prevails! If the PQ was still in power they would have leveraged this on their war against Canada strategy and further exasperate the voters of Quebec to seperate in order to protect the fragile language. Well, now hopefully Couillard will calm the waters with the language police and zealots of stupity.
  5. Barcham posted on 04/10/2014 11:36 AM
    This would be an excellent chance for the new Liberal gov't to stand up and show that they are not interested in petty language fights and let the judgement stand without appeal and move on to other, more important, things. Taking this to appeal would be a waste of the court's time and of taxpayer money.
  6. Andymtl posted on 04/10/2014 11:36 AM
    Great, now can they pay back all the tax dollars they wasted on legal fees to the public?
  7. JP Kearns posted on 04/10/2014 11:44 AM
    So the Quebec taxpayer funds these useless challenges to the Quebec Lanquage Law, trademarks have always been protected,. No wonder there we have economic issues.

    How much did this case cost us, publish those numbers, along with projected cost of an appeal
  8. David posted on 04/10/2014 12:37 PM
    Is it Christmas? What is going on? First Marois out of politics and how the OLF gets a punch in the face. I'm starting to have faith in humanity again.
  9. Bill posted on 04/10/2014 01:53 PM
    Why does the little business have to comply to these idiotic language laws.
    Hope this sets a precedent for them.
  10. I Speak E F posted on 04/10/2014 02:10 PM
    They better not appeal and waste any more tax payer money.It might even be a wise move for Premier Couillard to limit their funding or disband them completely.
  11. Dave posted on 04/10/2014 02:42 PM
    All that court time, legal trouble and taxpayers' / consumers' dollars WASTED because of the OQLF's franco-nationalist zealotry, AND because the Liberals and PQ pander to it in Quebec society.
    The only people all this benefits are lawyers.
    Will the new Quebec Liberal government really be any different, or will the pandering and pampering continue?
  12. George73 posted on 04/10/2014 05:03 PM
    Liberals first order of business should be to fire every single person in the OQLF, close the department down, and transfer the funds to the healthcare system, where people strive to help rather than hinder.
    1. GT posted on 04/15/2014 11:54 AM
      @George73 Keep dreaming George73. The Liberal win does not mean that the clock turns back to 1960's on the language front. If it did, then it would mean the revival of the extremists will rule over the next 4 years and eventual ouster of the liberal at next election. If anything, OQLF will continue to exist but might have some clearer direction from liberals on what really constitutes escalating the issue to the next level to correct.
  13. George73 posted on 04/10/2014 05:12 PM
    And just how much taxpayer money did the OQLF waste on this lastest example of the nonsense of their mandate? In private business, heads would roll, but I suspect the individual responsible will be rewarded with a raise - enough money to pay for the English couses for his/her kids no doubt.

    There is some merit to balancing the provinical budget by eliminating civil service positions. I just wouldn't do it through natural attrition when it comes to this group of clowns.

    The Libs should stand up and lay them all off. They have 4 years for any backlash to subside. Imagine that, Four years with no more embarassing pastagate instances. Four years in which much needed extra healthcare professionals could be given gainful employment.

    Come on Philipe. Show us what you are made of. The French language is not under threat so why do we need the langauage police?
  14. More BS posted on 04/10/2014 07:23 PM
    Thank god public money is being well spent. Wouldn't want to waste it on health care or education.
  15. Mike d posted on 04/10/2014 08:22 PM
    What a joke this is even going to court. What do English people think they sell at Old Navy ... Old ships. OMG are people that dumb???
  16. Thomas posted on 04/10/2014 08:37 PM
    Good, this was bound to happen sooner or later as the OQLF just goes too far in harassing companies over stupid things. What basis would they have to appeal this decision? Hope more companies can win as well.
  17. Patrick Conway posted on 04/10/2014 08:45 PM
    I'd like to know how much of our tax dollars were wasted on the OQLF going to court for this petty bit of nationalism.
  18. Terry posted on 04/11/2014 12:06 AM
    If only Wal=Mart and Target had the courage to add an English welcome sign on the exterior of their stores.
  19. Ron Unruh posted on 04/11/2014 11:25 AM
    Marois and the PQ were broadcasting a false alarm. The French language is not in peril nor is it vulnerable. I live bear Vancouver. All our public announcements are in both official languages. All our purchased products carry both languages. What can be clearer than Two, Official, Languages. So glad, this election is over and the results favoured mutual respect.
    1. Jim posted on 04/15/2014 06:46 PM
      @Ron Unruh My friend, whom I had grown up with, who lives in Vancouver, has placed both of his kids in a French immersion school in Vancouver. Not because he had to, but to ensure that they will be completely bilingual ...in Vancouver. They separatists here in Québec will never acknowledge these positive events as it does not serve their agenda. Even if such examples are small in comparison outside Québec, isn't it better to focus on the positive accomplishments and emphasize the power of being more educated rather than be so narrow-sighted?
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