Ohio State University has officially trademarked the word “THE,” according to NBC 4.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Ohio State with a registration certificate on Tuesday (June 21). The certificate allows the university 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.” This means that only Ohio State can have apparel that just says “THE” on it.
Ohio State University has been trying to trademark “THE” since 2019. When people were skeptical of the move, they responded at the time with, “Like other institutions, Ohio State works to vigorously protect the university’s brand and trademarks because these assets hold significant value.”
It took years for the request to be approved due to the fact the clothing company Marc Jacobs also filed a similar application to trademark “THE” around the same time Ohio State did. Ultimately, the university and the brand worked together to resolve the issue so that they could both claim use of the word on their respective products. Similarly, Ohio State went to court with a high school apparel company over its use of the letter “O” back in 2019.