OSU trademarks ‘the’ after three-year fight | Local News


The Ohio State University in Columbus was awarded a trademark June 21 for “the” when used by itself on clothing, including T-shirts, baseball caps and hats.

According to Twitter posts by trademark attorney Josh Gerben, the decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office comes after a three-year battle to secure the trademark that began when fashion designer Marc Jacobs sought to trademark the word.

According to Gerben’s posts, the government first refused OSU’s trademark application arguing the use of “the” was “merely ornamental” and Jacobs had already sought a trademark. OSU replied by showing it was not using the trademark in such a matter and by challenging Jacobs’ application. Both the university and Jacobs reached a settlement in August 2021 that they both would have a patent registration for “the.”

OSU’s application was then granted after the school proved that it was using the word in a substantive and not “merely ornamental way.”

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