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EGDEric

Getting around Quebec's language laws

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I want to register my game development business, and I want to use an English name. I live in Quebec. Quebec's language laws require that a company be registered under a French name. You can show it in English, but wherever you do, it has to be shown in French too, and the French should be more prominently displayed.

I don't want to register a name in French. My company will be making games for people around the globe, not just in Quebec, and English just so happens to be a much more ubiquitous language.

The way around this law is to register a trademark first. If you're naming your company after your registered trademark, you can give it whatever name you want. That requires some additional fees, both initially and every 10 years, but it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

What I'm wondering is, what did all these other game studios in Montreal do? I see a bunch of them here with English names, and I don't see them in the Trademark database.

Anyone familiar with how new game companies go about registering their name? I'm wondering if trademark registration is the only way to go.

 

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Hope you get some other Quebec devs sharing their thoughts. Probably also a good idea to have a short consult with a local lawyer. 

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Assuming this blog post is correct:

Quote

When registering your business name, you can keep a few things mind:

1.    Your business will have an official name (ex. Boutique PIXI Inc.), however your business may want to exercise its activities under a shorter catchier name (ex. PIXI). In this case, you would register “PIXI” as the “other names” or “assumed names” of your business on the Quebec corporate registry.

2.    Even if the Quebec corporate registry requires that your name includes a French element, please note that you are allowed to have two official business names in each language (English and French). Therefore, you can have one official business name that is “Consultation TBSK Inc.” and another that is “TBSK Consulting Inc.”

 

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Based on my understanding of business names in Quebec the only known loop hole is to have an English registered trademark which you then use for all of your signage along side your business.

Beyond that as per:

http://www.registreentreprises.gouv.qc.ca/en/demarrer/definition-et-regles.aspx

http://www.legisquebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/ShowDoc/cs/C-11

They have outlined their requirements.

2 hours ago, EGDEric said:

What I'm wondering is, what did all these other game studios in Montreal do? I see a bunch of them here with English names, and I don't see them in the Trademark database.

Did you actually confirm that those names are actually registered corporations, trade names, or partnerships in the Province of Quebec? Many people just go online and claim they're a business but they're not actually registered. You have to consider these rules are applied during the registration phase... I doubt they would be missed.

Now if you look at some of those names they're not registered. Others are actually trademarked like http://www.bioware.com/

image.png.c5025cf598c75da22fd36270d6ecd8e1.png

Owned by ELECTRONIC ARTS (CANADA), INC out of the province of BC.

image.png.a0457bc42d5546bee3417340e30a41ca.png

They also have a registered name in Quebec as: EA MONTRÉAL which is under ELECTRONIC ARTS (CANADA), INC

image.png.5de68eedd16e748ab57ad6cc522f3dad.png

image.png.92f633aa85e4d46cbba0bb761d6ed3ca.png

If you have corporations which are federally incorporated they would have to follow the same rules when they go to register their extra-provincial registration in Quebec to my knowledge. The same applies to having a business provincially registered outside of Quebec and wanting to register in Quebec.

I'm personally not in or from Quebec but in another province, however I'm well aware that Quebec has strict requirements.

Seek out a lawyer as suggested by Tom.

Best of luck.

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Kseh, I believe that's correct, unfortunately the company name I want doesn't translate in a way that I can re-use words.

I think the lawyer advice is a good idea. I'll start by calling the PME, it's an org in Quebec that helps out entrepreneurs, gives them free advice, classes, etc.. I can also consult a lawyer as well if need be.

 

 

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Most of the companies that I've worked for have been registered under completely different names than the brand that ends up on the box/web...

Often you find out after some time that the single "studio" that you're working for is actually three different companies and a bunch of creative accounting...

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2 hours ago, EGDEric said:

I think the lawyer advice is a good idea. I'll start by calling the PME, it's an org in Quebec that helps out entrepreneurs, gives them free advice, classes, etc..

Perfect!

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