News Update

Ohio State University trademarks “The”

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It’s official. The Ohio State University won its legal fight to trademark the word “The.” The university’s request for trademark rights received approval from the U.S. Patent and Trademark office this week, ending a three-year campaign.

The school will use the word “The” for branded products associated with the school and sold through its athletic and collegiate channels.

Ohio State, like other schools, uses the money earned from selling officially branded merchandise to help fund things like scholarships, libraries and other university projects.

Ohio State’s trademark and licensing program raises about $12.5 million a year.

Ohio State started using the word “The” in front of its name in the mid 80’s to distinguish itself from two other OSU’s — Oklahoma State University and Oregon State University.

“The” didn’t really catch on until the mid-90s when Ohio State football players started to emphasize the word during their televised introductions during games.

It wasn’t until 2019, however, that Ohio State started pursuing a trademark after fashion retailer Marc Jacobs filed an application for the word. The company and the school reached a deal in August 2021 that allows both parties to use the branding.

The patent office rejected Ohio State’s initial application, finding the trademark appeared to be used for “merely decorative manner” and as an “ornamental feature” that didn’t appear to function as a trademark that would differentiate the items from others.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

IT’S OFFICIAL, THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY WON ITS LEGAL FIGHT TO TRADEMARK THE WORD “THE.”

THE UNIVERSITY’S REQUEST FOR TRADEMARK RIGHTS RECEIVED APPROVAL FROM THE U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE THIS WEEK, ENDING A THREE-YEAR CAMPAIGN.

THE SCHOOL WILL USE THE WORD “THE” FOR BRANDED PRODUCTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE SCHOOL AND SOLD THROUGH ITS ATHLETIC AND COLLEGIATE CHANNELS.

OHIO STATE, LIKE OTHER SCHOOLS, USES THE MONEY EARNED FROM SELLING OFFICIALLY BRANDED MERCHANDISE TO HELP FUND THINGS LIKE SCHOLARSHIPS, LIBRARIES AND OTHER UNIVERSITY PROJECTS.

OHIO STATES TRADEMARK AND LICENSING PROGRAM RAISES ABOUT $12.5 MILLION.

OHIO STATE STARTED USING THE WORD “THE” IN FRONT OF ITS NAME IN THE MID 80’S TO DISTINGUISH ITSELF FROM TWO OTHER OSU’S, OKLAHOMA STATE AND OREGON STATE UNIVERSITIES.

“THE” DIDN’T REALLY CATCH-ON UNTIL THE MID-90’S WHEN OHIO STATE FOOTBALL PLAYERS STARTED TO EMPHASIZE THE WORD DURING THEIR TELEVISED INTRODUCTIONS DURING GAMES.

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It’s official. The Ohio State University won its legal fight to trademark the word “The.” The university’s request for trademark rights received approval from the U.S. Patent and Trademark office this week, ending a three-year campaign.

The school will use the word “The” for branded products associated with the school and sold through its athletic and collegiate channels.

Ohio State, like other schools, uses the money earned from selling officially branded merchandise to help fund things like scholarships, libraries and other university projects.

Ohio State’s trademark and licensing program raises about $12.5 million a year.

Ohio State started using the word “The” in front of its name in the mid 80’s to distinguish itself from two other OSU’s — Oklahoma State University and Oregon State University.

“The” didn’t really catch on until the mid-90s when Ohio State football players started to emphasize the word during their televised introductions during games.

It wasn’t until 2019, however, that Ohio State started pursuing a trademark after fashion retailer Marc Jacobs filed an application for the word. The company and the school reached a deal in August 2021 that allows both parties to use the branding.

The patent office rejected Ohio State’s initial application, finding the trademark appeared to be used for “merely decorative manner” and as an “ornamental feature” that didn’t appear to function as a trademark that would differentiate the items from others.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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