The UK Presidency's "12 swan" logo

The Telegraph informed the IPKat today that the UK's presidency of the European Union has got off to an embarrassing start, it having emerged that the logo for its presidency is almost identical to that of the anti-European think-tank, the Bruges Group. The Bruges Group, which campaigns against further European integration, is threatening to sue the Government for copyright infringement. Lord Lamont, the co-chairman of the group, has written to Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, demanding an explanation. The new presidency logo, depicting 12 swans in flight - an echo of the 12 stars in the EU flag - was created this year for the Foreign Office by Johnson Banks Design, at a cost of £30,000. Michael Johnson, a founder of the company, said:

"We were looking for an idea that avoided visual clichés of Europe."

The Bruges Group: "We were there first!"
The IPKat agrees that there is quite a bit of similarity. However, proof of copying may be hard, since the image resembles what birds do when they fly; perhaps the later logo was inspired by real life or by an independent source. More to the point, the threat of an action for copyright infringement tells us one thing: the Bruges Group almost certainly hasn't registered its birds as a trade mark. Merpel adds, why does each country's presidency of the EU require its own logo? Is it something to do with the Eurovision Song Contest ...?

A case of conceptual similarity?

Rules for use of UK presidency logo here
Twelve wild swans here
Twelve swans a swimming here
The Bruges Group here (for pro-Europeans only if they have very strong stomachs)

FLYING SWANS OR DEAD DUCK? FLYING SWANS OR DEAD DUCK? Reviewed by Jeremy on Sunday, July 03, 2005 Rating: 5


  1. Surely for there to be conceptual similarity it should be bird and bird and bird and bird and bird and bird and bird?

  2. Surely for there to be conceptual similarity it should be bird and bird and bird and bird and bird and bird and bird?

  3. On the basis that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, maybe we don't need so many birds ...

  4. The Government would appear to have taken note of the objections and re-designed the logo.
    Now, though, two different versions of the logo are being used simultaneously!


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