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There is an old saying in the legal world that “an ill agreement is better than a good judgement”.

Our keen readers will remember that we had previously discussed the Citroën/Polestar case dealing with litigious “chevrons” trademarks, which can be found here.

In a nutshell, Citroën, a French car manufacturer, had considered that Polestar (a new competitor on the – electric – car market)’s “inverted chevrons” logos were infringing their own “double chevrons” logos. Citroën had initiated a number of legal actions, including some cancellation actions before the EUIPO and a trademark infringement claim before the French Courts.

The latter ended with the French Courts acknowledging the tremendous reputation of Citroën’s “double chevrons” logo in France and the risks of the use of “inverted chevrons” logos by Polestar damaging, diluting and blurring the distinctive character of the Citroën Logos.

The French Courts thus ordered Polestar to cease all use of the conflicting logos in France for a period of six months.

It certainly was a good decision for Citroën both from a legal and commercial perspective: the reputation of Citroën’s “double chevrons” trademark was acknowledged, thus making for a great case-law to be used in future trademark disputes, and Polestar was (temporarily) banned from the French market.

Several cross-actions had been initiated by Polestar and this trademark dispute may have lasted for a few years. Yet, in a rather unexpected turn of events, in August this year, the media reported the news that the parties had settled this logo dispute, that the complaints had been withdrawn and that “the case was closed”. Accordingly, “both parties could now use their trademarks worldwide”, which means Polestar is now welcome to the French market.

But the story does not end here: after no less than four years of legal battles, Citroën revealed in September (not quite long after the deal with Polestar was sealed) their new “double chevrons” Logo, reminiscent of their historical 1919 logo:

Noting that this new logo seems visually farther away from the litigious Polestar Logo, one may wonder whether this rebranding played a role in Citroën’s “U-turn” (pun intended) and in the deal found with Polestar.

While the terms of the settlement agreement signed between Citroën and Polestar remain secret, this outcome tends to confirm that a global commercial deal may be more profitable to both parties than a good legal case and a “win” before the courts.

More generally, when determining an intellectual property strategy with our clients, we always recommend taking into account all relevant circumstances of a case to carefully select the best course of actions.

Feel free to contact our Firm for any assistance in protecting and defending your IP!

Find all our articles on intellectual property on our blog #IPBoardingPass.

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