COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State University has won the battle to trademark the word ‘The’.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved the university’s request Tuesday. The school says it allows Ohio State to monitor the use of “The” for branded products associated with and sold through athletic and collegiate 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 Ohio state official gear support scholarships, libraries and other university initiatives,” said Ben Johnson, senior director of media and public relations at the Ohio State Department. the University. He noted that the university’s licensing and trademark program generates more than $12.5 million a year in revenue, which helps fund scholarships and university programs.
Ohio State began trademark pursuit in August 2019 after fashion retailer Marc Jacobs filed for the word a few months earlier. The company and the university reached a deal in August 2021 that allows both parties to use the branding.
The patent office rejected Ohio State’s initial application and found that the trademark appeared to be used for “decorative purposes only” and as a “decorative element” that did not appear to function as a trademark that would differentiate the items from others.