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Judge sides with retailers in feud with Quebec government over French signs

Shoppers visit a Best Buy in Montreal. A judge has ruled that major retailers do not have to modify their commercial names to French to continue operating in Quebec.

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

A judge has ruled that major retailers do not have to modify their commercial names to French to continue operating in Quebec.

A Quebec Superior Court justice says businesses that have storefront signs with their trademark name in a language other than French do not contravene the French Language Charter.

Several retailers took the province's language watchdog to court after they were told to change their names or risk losing the right to do business in the province.

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

The businesses included Best Buy, Costco, Gap, Old Navy, Guess, Walmart, Toys 'R' Us and Curves.

Language watchdog Jean-Pierre Le Blanc says it'll be up to the attorney-general's office to decide whether to appeal Wednesday's ruling.

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