Tommy Hilfiger failed to register its flag as a copyrighted work in the US. The US Copyright Office refused to register the following image:
According to the company, this flag was sufficiently original due to the fact that its representation combines the letters T, J, and H which stems from the name Thomas J. Hilfiger and three colors. Apart from this, the red rectangle element means “Going home” from a voyage.
The Office disagreed with these claims stating that the work is not original enough in order to be registered. The aforementioned combination of colors and shapes is standard and “exceedingly common for flag designs”. There wasn’t sufficient creativity in that regard. What the author of the work wants to convey as meaning is irrelevant for the originality of the work according to the US copyright case law:
“A work may be complete rubbish and utterly worthless, but copyright protection may be available for it, just as it is for the great masterpieces of imaginative literature, art and music. A work needs only be “original” in the limited sense that the author originated it by his efforts rather than slavishly copying it from the work produced by the efforts of others. (Mummery LJ, ). “