Quebec government will appeal court ruling on French business signs

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MONTREAL – The Quebec government says it will appeal a recent court ruling that major retailers don’t have to translate their trademarked English names into French.

The government had until this week to decide whether to appeal the decision by Quebec Superior Court Justice Michel Yergeau.

Yergeau ruled last month that businesses that have storefront signs with their trademark name in a language other than French do not contravene the French Language Charter.

Several multinationals took the province to court after they were told by the language watchdog to change their names or risk running afoul of the rules governing the language of business in Quebec.

The Office quebecois de la langue francaise wanted the companies to change their signs to either give themselves a generic French name or to add a slogan or explanation to reflect what they sold.

But a list of companies that included Best Buy, Costco, Gap, Old Navy, Guess, Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us and Curves opposed the idea.

Yergeau also ruled the watchdog could not suspend, revoke or refuse to renew certificates or attempt to impose any other sanction stemming from the trademarks issue.

The office of Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee said it won’t comment any further given the case is now back before the courts.

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