It does come as a bit of a surprise to learn that a turkey wishbone turns out to be copyrightable.

Trademark and Copyright Law (via The Passive Voice) has the story of a lawsuit involving Sears and a potential supplier whose sample plastic wishbone, offered as part of his sales pitch, was sent by Sears to a Chinese manufacturer who ended up getting the order for a million give-away wishbones. Nobody can think Sears behavior in this matter was anything but despicable, but is copyright really the appropriate defense? Seems it was, as the plaintiff prevailed. “The Court acknowledged that objects found in nature are in the public domain and can not be copyrighted. However, the fact that an author bases a creative work on a naturally occurring object does not preclude a finding of originality where there is evidence that the author added some creative contribution.”

What would have been the legal situation had Sears sent to Hong Kong not Mr Ahroni’s plastic prototype but an actual turkey wishbone? Probably they’d have ended up about $1.7 million better off.