Ohio State Denied Trademark of the Word “THE”

September 12, 2019

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected Ohio State University's attempt to trademark the word "THE" for its university clothing and merchandise.

Fans and members of the university have historically attempted to distinguish Ohio State from other institutions by using "THE" -- frequently in all capital letters -- in front of its official name. This is also how the university is referred to in the Ohio Revised Code, according to cleveland.com.

The request to trademark "THE," made on Aug. 8, was rejected because the use of the word on clothing "is merely a decorative or ornamental feature" and does not "identify or distinguish applicant's clothing from others," according to the Patent and Trademark Office letter sent to Ohio State. Marc Jacobs, the designer fashion line, had also already attempted to trademark "the" for its handbags, and was likewise rejected on Aug. 28, cleveland.com reported.

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