This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

American Airlines is suing the US Copyright Office. The world’s largest airline says its new logo should be protected by copyright laws, which the agency has repeatedly denied because, in its view, it’s too basic to qualify.

Earlier this year, American was denied a copyright claim by the United States Copyright Office for its logo — the third time in three years that this happened. It was previously denied in 2016 and 2017. According to the US Copyright Office, the American Airlines logo is just too plain to be copyrighted.

Specifically, the US Copyright Office states that American Airlines’ current logo lacks creativity. Back in January, the agency said of the logo, “While the bar for creativity is low, it does exist and the work cannot glide over even its low heights.” American Airlines thinks otherwise and said in its lawsuit that copyrights are granted for far less creative logos.

The current American Airlines logo made its debut in 2013. It features what the airline calls in the lawsuit the “Flight Symbol”, resembling an eagle made up of red, white, and blue accents. A stylized eagle also appeared in the old logo, designed in 1967 by Massimo Vignelli, who famously hated the 2013 version, designed by Futurebrand to reflect a new corporate identity after the merger with US Airways.

In its lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, AA says its logo is “a complex, multi-layered composition incorporating distinct images as well as unique concepts of negative space” and that it “possesses far more than the modicum of creativity required for copyright protection.”

As an example of simpler logos that still got copyright protection, AA attached to its lawsuit an image of some corporate designs including two that are familiar to many: the logo of the X-Men movie franchise, and no less an American icon than the Super Bowl trophy (bottom right in the image below.)

Image from lawsuit provided by American Airlines

If the designer of the 1967 logo was right, though, this is all kind of moot — because the “Flight Symbol” is going away soon.

“I will not be here to make a bet,” said in 2013 Vignelli, who died the following year, “but this (new logo) won’t last another 25 years.”

Featured image courtesy of American Airlines Group

American Express® Gold Card

With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.