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Ohio State University awarded trademark on use of word ‘THE’

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State University is one of the most well-known schools in the nation synonymous with using “THE” in their school name. Now it’s official. 

The university has a registered trademark for the word “THE” that was approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on June 21, Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney, first reported Wednesday.

Under the trademark, Ohio State can use “THE” on branded clothing including t-shirts, baseball caps, and hats. 

Ohio State provided a statement Wednesday to FOX Television Stations about their new trademark: 

Ohio State is pleased to have received a trademark for THE on branded products associated with and sold through athletics and collegiate channels. THE has been a rallying cry in the Ohio State community for many years, and Buckeye fans who purchase official Ohio State gear support student scholarships, libraries and other university initiatives. Like other institutions, Ohio State works to protect the university’s brand and trademarks because these assets benefit students and faculty, and support our core academic mission of teaching and research. Ohio State’s trademark and licensing program generates an average of over $12.5 million annually in revenue for the university, which funds student scholarships and university programs.”

The school said they filed an initial trademark filing in 2019 that was prompted by fashion designer Marc Jacobs submitting an application to file a trademark for the word “THE.”

Ohio State and Jacobs settled their trademark dispute and later reached a settlement, but the terms were not disclosed, Gerben shared. Both Ohio State and Jacobs can now register “THE” on branded products for “continued use and license.”



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