Ohio State Gets ‘The’ Trademark Approval for Merchandise : NPR
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State University has won its fight to trademark the word “The.”
The US Patent and Trademark Office approved the university’s application on Tuesday. The school says it allows the State of Ohio to control the use of “The” on branded products associated with and sold through athletic and college channels, such as t-shirts , baseball caps and hats.
“THE has been a rallying cry in the Ohio State community for many years, and Buckeye fans who purchase official Ohio State gear support scholarships, libraries and other university initiatives,” said Ben Johnson, the university’s senior director of media and public relations. He noted that the university’s licensing and trademark program generates more than $12.5 million in revenue annually, which helps fund scholarships and academic programs.
Ohio State began filing a trademark in August 2019 after fashion retailer Marc Jacobs filed for the word a few months earlier. The company and the university reached an agreement in August 2021 that allows both parties to use the brand.
The patent office rejected the original application from the State of Ohio, finding that the mark appeared to be used “merely decoratively” and as an “ornamental element” that did not appear to function as a mark that would differentiate between items from others.