Nearly one month ago, Ohio State filed a trademark application for the word “the.” Former players, coaches, fans and alums refer to the school as ‘THE’ Ohio State University and the school attempted to take advantage.
Trademark attorney Josh Gerben uncovered a trademark application for the word “the” by OSU, filed on August 8. The school planned to use the word on the front of shirts, hats and other merchandise.
“In order for a trademark to be registered for a brand of clothing, the trademark must be used in a trademark fashion.” Gerben continued, “In other words, it has to be used on tagging or labeling for the products. In this case, just putting the word ‘the’ on the front of a shirt is not sufficient trademark use.”
Unfortunately, the school won’t be selling any sanctioned merchandise.
Business insider Darren Rovell revealed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refused the school’s application.
JUST IN: The US Patent & Trademark Office has issued an initial decision on Ohio State's attempt to trademark the word "THE." They have refused the application.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 11, 2019
It was an interesting move from the school, one that ultimately did not work out in their favor. The trademark was always destined to fail – trademarking one word is nearly impossible.
Despite losing the application process, former players, coaches and fans won’t change their use of the word “the.”
Michigan fans will be happy with the result.