Ohio State University Trademarked 'THE' for Branded Merchandise
After being told in 2019 that, no, you can't trademark the world "The," THE Ohio State University has successfully secured the trademark for "THE" to use on branded merchandise.
The Ohio State University has successfully registered a trademark for "THE."
The registration was just issued on June 21st by the USPTO.
The application was filed back in August 2019. So why did it take 3 years to get approved?
A thread🧵 pic.twitter.com/Wfa5EFp4DS
— Josh Gerben (@JoshGerben) June 22, 2022
If you watch NFL games where the starting lineup says their names and where they went to school, you've probably seen a few Ohio State grads refer to it as "THE Ohio State University." It's a big deal for Buckeye fans and students, so having this trademark is about to open the door to a lot of merchandise.
Funnily enough, the designer brand Marc Jacobs also applied to trademark "The" before OSU in 2019. According to CBS Sports, both parties agreed to a solution where they can both own the registration and use "THE" in branding for their products.
For Ohio State to secure the trademark, they had to prove to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the use of the word was not "merely ornamental."
"THE has been a rallying cry in the Ohio State community for many years," Ohio State senior director of media and public relations Ben Johnson told the AP. "And Buckeye fans who purchase official Ohio State gear support student scholarships, libraries and other university initiatives."
OSU's licensing and trademark program reportedly yields more than $12.5 million annually, so it's something they take seriously over there in Columbus.
They're just two years behind their bitter rivals Penn State in trademarking ubiquitous words and phrases. Penn State was granted the trademark for "We Are" in 2020.