A Trademark For Use of the Word “THE” Has Been Secured by Ohio State University

A Trademark For Use of the Word “THE” Has Been Secured by Ohio State University
Image © Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK
Kuthula Magubane
Kuthula Magubane
May 19th 2023

After close to three years of back-and-forth play, (not against a Big Ten School, but against the U.S Patent and Trademark Office) THE Ohio State University has settled the issue of a very uncommon yet commonly used word.  Place a bet on collegiate sports at any New Jersey Online Casino like DraftKings, BetMGM and FanDuel.

Trademark attorney Josh Gerben shared on Twitter that Ohio State has officially earned the trademark for the most common word in the English language: “THE". They began their journey in 2019 after Fashion designer Marc Jacobs had filed an application for the use of the word a couple of months earlier.

The initial trademark applications by OSU were rejected by the patent office on the basis of the word being “ornamental,” and because of Marc Jacobs' prior filing, which OSU challenged.

In August 2021 Marc Jacobs and OSU reached an agreement that would allow both parties to use the branding. This would not pose any conflict because Marc Jacobs is primarily high-end fashion, while Ohio State's is geared for athletic and casual wear.

Although the conflict was settled, it still took OSU almost another year to justify to the patent office that “THE” is more than an ornamental part of their massive brand.

This trademark approval now gives Ohio State permission to use “THE” for clothing, namely, t-shirts, baseball caps, and hats; all of the foregoing being promoted, distributed, and sold through channels customary to the field of sports and collegiate athletics.

“Ohio State is pleased to have received a trademark for THE on branded products associated with and sold through athletics and collegiate channels,” Ben Johnson, OSU senior director of media and public relations, said in a statement.

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