Ohio State University Trademarks “THE”

steel gate of brown brick building

By: George William

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved Ohio State’s application Tuesday by issuing a registration certificate. It allows Ohio State to control the use of “THE” on “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,” the certificate reads.

In other words, only Ohio State can have apparel that just has “THE” on it.

Ohio State had attempted as early as 2019 to trademark the word. In response to those questioning the move, it said at the time, “Like other institutions, Ohio State works to vigorously protect the university’s brand and trademarks because these assets hold significant value.”

This is not the first time Ohio State has attempted to defend its trademark on something as simple as a common word. In 2019, it went to court with a high school apparel company over its use of the letter “O.”

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