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Ohio State Files Trademark on 'The' for Merchandise, Clothing, More

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 14, 2019

COLLEGE PARK, MD - FEBRUARY 23:  The Ohio State Buckeyes logo on a sweat shirt before a college basketball game against the Maryland Terrapins at the XFinity Center on February 23, 2019 in College Park, Maryland.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Josh Gerben of the Gerben Law Firm reported that The Ohio State University placed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office last Thursday for the word "The":

Josh Gerben @JoshGerben

The Ohio State University has filed a trademark application on the word "THE." The filing, made on August 8th, indicates #OhioState is offering a brand of "THE" clothing. Not sure how 'The U' will feel about this one. My analysis 👇: #BuckeyeNation #MiamiHurricanes https://t.co/1UvLOAOnIc

Per Gerben's search on the office's trademark electronic service system, OSU's trademark request is listed for "clothing, namely T-shirts, baseball caps and hats."

The request included examples of OSU clothing featuring "The" on the front.

Gerben posited that Ohio State will receive "an initial refusal of the application" because the trademark "must be used ... on tagging or labeling for the products." He further noted that putting the word "The" on the shirt "is not sufficient trademark use."

The trademark attorney also said the university should have a chance to rework the proposed products.

The Ohio State University changed its name from Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1878, per OSU's university archives FAQ.

A Board of Trustees minutes from that year states "the educational institution heretofore known as the 'Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College,' shall be known and designated hereafter as 'The Ohio State University.'"