Oldest rights

To make matters worse, the Chinese also own the oldest rights: they have a European trademark registration of this logo from 2010. Life-threatening, because this would allow them to force Citroën to modify its logo.

Citroen Golden Dragon
On the left Citroën’s new logo, on the right the Golden Dragon Bus logo



To kill this danger, Citroën tried to overturn Xiamen’s trademark registration. According to the French, Xiamen has not used the logo in Europe for the past five years. In trademark law, the rule is that if you don’t use your trademark for five years, another person can try to cancel your registration.

Mark in use

On Oct. 19 the European trademark office EUIPO issued its ruling. Based on evidence submitted, EUIPO now concludes that Xiamen did use the logo commercially in Europe. The trademark registration therefore remains in place for “electric buses” and “electric vehicles,” EUIPO said.

Citroen Golden Dragon
Above, a new Citroën. Below, the bus from Xiamen


The battle can begin

Now that it has been determined that Xiamen’s European trademark is valid, the real fight can begin. Does Citroën’s logo infringe on Xiamen’s trademark rights? Hmmm, very dark clouds are gathering over the French car brand.


Bas Kist is mede-oprichter van Merkenbureau Chiever. Hij schrijft regelmatig artikelen over merken- en auteursrecht in de Volkskrant en Adformatie. Daarnaast is hij docent bij de European Institute for Brand management EURIB.