Ohio State University Wants to Trademark The Word 'The'

By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter

August 14, 2019

Ohio State Campus

Ohio State University has reportedly filed an application with 'the' U.S. Patent Trademark Office for a trademark on one of 'the' English language's oldest words:

'The' filing made on Aug. 8th by Buckeye officials shows 'the' school intends to use the word 'the' on a line of t-shirts, baseball caps, and hats.

"Like other institutions, Ohio State works to vigorously protect the university's brand and trademarks," university spokesperson Chris Davey told 'The' Columbus Dispatch in a statement. "These assets hold significant value, which benefits our students and faculty and the broader community by supporting our core academic mission of teaching and research."

The application for the trademark was filed by the university in an effort to protect its brand, Davey added.

The application was first spotted by trademark lawyer, Josh Gerben, who said in a video posted online that the university's application has issues "out of the gate."

"In order for a trademark to be registered for a brand of clothing, the trademark must be used in a trademark fashion. In other words, it has to be used on tagging or labeling for the products. In this case, just putting the word 'the' on the front of a hat or on the front of a shirt is not sufficient trademark use," Gerben said.

This isn't the first time Ohio State has filed for an unusual trademark. They've also trademarked the names and likenesses of football coaches Urban Meyer and Woody Hayes, as well as phrases like Script Ohio and The Shoe.

Photo: Getty Images

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