UKIP faces copyright battle with Premier League over similar lion logo

The UK Independence Party has replaced its yellow, pound-sign logo with a purple lion's head – and is now facing a copyright battle with England's main football league, whose own logo is remarkably similar.

The far-right political party unveiled its rebrand at its annual party conference, held in Torquay last week. The logo drew immediate criticism on Twitter, with many spotting its similarity to the Premier League's one-year-old identity.

According to reports in The Guardian and The Telegraph, the Premier League is now looking into a possible copyright claim.

UKIP's rebrand features a large lion's head, detailed with a striped mane as a reference to the British flag

UKIP's previous logo was a purple pound sign set against a yellow backdrop. At the party conference, which took place on 29 September 2017, it unveiled two new logo options and invited attendees to vote for their favourite.

The purple lion head was selected ahead of a logo bearing  the slogan "UKIP for the Nation", framed by two large swoosh marks in purple and in yellow.

But shortly after it was announced as winner, Twitter became flooded with comparisons to the Premier League's minimal rebrand, designed by London and San Francisco-based agency DesignStudio last year.

It has been mocked on social media for its similarities to the UK Premier League's brand, which received a minimal update last year

Among the critics was retired UK footballer and broadcaster Gary Lineker, who ironically tweeted: "The @premierleague will be thrilled".

Other Twitter users followed suit – making jokes that remarked on the familiarity of the two brands' logos.

"Watching football. For some reason the new UKIP logo keeps flashing up on screen?" asked one, while another questioned why Premier League reporters were using the UKIP logo on their microphone.

A spokesperson for the Premier League told the Guardian that its internal legal team was aware of the issue and was looking into any potential breach of copyright.

UKIP did not reply to Dezeen's request for comment, but UKIP chairman Paul Oakden told the BBC he was "not worried".

"For a start, I don't mind UKIP being associated with the Premier League," he said on Daily Politics, a television show that airs on BBC Two.

"If they feel they have a right to take legal action I'm sure they'll consult with their lawyers. We did our due diligence before we put these logos to the membership and, as I said, we are perfectly comfortable."

UKIP  backed the decision to leave the European Union, with former party leader Nigel Farage becoming a key figurehead of the Leave campaign. The party chose the lion because of its associations with the qualities of Britain, and "Britishness".

However, the party's use of an animal that is not native to the UK has also sparked sarcastic responses on Twitter, with commenters remarking on the fact that one of UKIP's aims is to bring tighter controls on immigration to the UK.

Others have provided alternative mascots, including a badger, and a Dalek from television drama Doctor Who.

There are some differences between the two designs. The mane of the lion in the UKIP's logo is detailed with stripes to reference the British flag, and its face includes open eyes and a mouth showing teeth.

Meanwhile the Premier League logo is a more simplified offering, with the lion's mane forming a crown at the top of its head.

Other features of UKIP's logo includes the party's slogan "For the Nation" written in san-serif type to the left side of the lion's head. A yellow line – a nod to the party's former colour theme – separates the phrase from "UKIP" written above.