American Airlines: Wants to Know What’s So Boring About Its New Logo

American Airlines isn’t pleased with the U.S. Copyright Office’s conclusion that its logo lacks creativity.

So the airline is upholding a distinctly American tradition — it’s taking the agency to court.

The logo, introduced in 2013 amid a major rebranding by the company, depicts an abstract white eagle’s head poking through a diagonal band with blue on top and red on the bottom. It was first denied copyright protection in 2016, then again in 2017 and earlier this year when the airline sought reconsideration. “While the bar for creativity is low, it does exist and the work cannot glide over even its low heights,” the agency said in January.

The AA logo used for more than 40 years starting in 1968, left, and the Flight Symbol logo unveiled in 2013, right.Source: Court Documents

To make the point that it’s being treated unfairly, American Airlines said the agency routinely registers copyrights for logos that are no more, “and in many cases less,” creative than its own, according to the complaint filed Friday in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas. The airline cited as an example the National Football League’s Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Representatives of the U.S. Copyright Office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


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