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U.S. Patent Office Lets Ohio State Trademark the Word ‘The’

June 23, 2022

It took years, but Ohio State University has finally prevailed upon the U.S. government to let it trademark the most common word in the English language.Red shirt with the word "The" in white letters.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Wednesday granted the university the exclusive right to use the brand “THE” for “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.” The patent office's approval came three years after it initially denied Ohio State’s attempt to trademark use of the word, saying it was merely ornamental. A year ago, the university settled a dispute with the fashion designer Marc Jacobs, who had petitioned for exclusive use of the word on high-end clothing.

Ohio State prefers to be called The Ohio State University.

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