S'pore lion head goes places

COMPANY LOGO: Al Ghassan Motors, a car dealer with offices in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, uses the lion-head symbol as its logo on its website and Facebook page.


    Jul 05, 2013

    S'pore lion head goes places

    THE lion-head symbol is a familiar national symbol of Singapore. But it, as well as the Merlion, has been making its rounds overseas in ways you might not expect.

    Al Ghassan Motors, a car dealer with offices in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, has been using the lion-head symbol as its company logo on its website and Facebook page.

    However, the copyright of the logo lies with the Singapore Government.

    A screenshot of Al Ghassan Motors' site with the lion-head logo was posted on citizen-journalist site Stomp on Tuesday by a netizen called Zul, who was unsure if the firm could use the symbol as its company logo.

    Al Ghassan Motors did not respond to My Paper's enquiries by press time.

    The lion-head symbol was introduced in 1986 as a symbol that people and organisations could use to express their loyalty and commitment to the nation. Organisations, companies and individuals who wish to use the symbol in their designs should seek written approval from the National Heritage Board (NHB).

    The board's website states that "any Singaporean individual, organisation or company may use the lion-head symbol to identify with the country".

    But an applicant has to send NHB an e-mail message on the rationale behind using the symbol, as well as artwork showing how it would be used.

    A spokesman for NHB said: "The symbol currently being used as a logo in Al Ghassan Motors' website does not meet the criteria set out in Singapore's guidelines."

    She added that NHB has "asked for it to be removed from the website".

    Media lawyer Bryan Tan, a partner in Pinsent Masons MPillay LLP, said the Government "should be able to stop the use of the logo" if its copyright has been infringed in Al Ghassan Motors' case. This is possible because of international treaties that Singapore has entered into.

    The treaties provide Singapore entities, including the Government, copyright protection in countries Singapore has signed treaties with, he said.

    The Merlion is another Singapore icon which has been appearing overseas (see sidebar).

    It is protected under the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Act and the STB grants permission for its use. Guidelines for its reproduction include using it in good taste and reproducing the Merlion in full.