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Automotive

Citroen/DS and Polestar settle logo dispute


Polestar is now free to sell its electric cars in France after its long-running legal problems with Citroen and DS came to an end last week.

According to Le Monde, Stellantis and Polestar have buried the hatchet over the latter’s logo, which has simmered away since 2017.

It’s unclear how the impasse was broken, with Citroen simply telling the French newspaper: “The complaints have been withdrawn. The case is closed.”

In mid-2017 Volvo Cars announced its Polestar performance division would become a standalone brand, specialising in high-performance electrified cars. The company later changed its mission to focus exclusively on electric vehicles.

As part of the move, the newly spun-off brand ditched its existing blue badge with Polestar lettering for a new logo featuring a pair of chevrons facing each other. The new badge is said to represent Polaris, also known as the North Star.

Citroen, and later DS, sued Polestar in France for copyright and trademark infringement.

In 2020 the court dismissed the copyright claims from Citroen and DS, stating the logos were not similar enough. It noted the chevrons in the various logos had different layouts, and the presence of chevron-based badges were not enough to cause the products to be easily confused.

On the other hand, the court agreed with Citroen’s trademark infringement claim, stating Polestar could indirectly benefit from Citroen being known worldwide as “the brand with the chevrons”.

Polestar was ordered to pay €150,000 ($218,000) in damages, and was prevented from using its logo in France for six months. This order was never rescinded, and effectively prevented the company from selling cars — or even operating a website — in France.

Citroen tried to take things further by petitioning an EU court in Brussels to extend the ban to the entire European Union, but this was rejected.

This isn’t the first time automotive brands have had clashed over logos.

Probably the most famous case was in 1991 when Renault successfully took Mazda to court for its new corporate badge.

As a result Mazda smoothed out the inside of its badge to remove any similarity between it and Renault’s diamond.





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