Ohio State University granted trademark for the word “THE” on merchandise

The Ohio State University has obtained a trademark to use the word “THE” on clothing and merchandise to promote its sports teams.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office previously denied the state of Ohio’s request, saying the mark appeared to be intended in a “merely decorative manner” and as an “ornamental item” that did not function as a mark that would differentiate the articles from others, the Associated Press reported.

The USPTO did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment on the approval.

In a statement to ABC News, the university said “THE” has been used by students at the school for years and works hard to “protect the university’s brand and trademarks, as these assets benefit students and faculty and support our core academic mission of teaching and research.”

The Ohio State University logo atop Ohio Stadium.

Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, FILE

Ohio State said the school’s trademark and licensing program generates more than $12.5 million in revenue annually and funds scholarships and college programs.

The university filed its patent application in August 2019, months after fashion designer Marc Jacobs requested the use of the word “THE” on his products. The USPTO also rescinded Jacobs’ request.

Jacobs and the school reached an agreement last year that allows them to use “THE” on their respective products.

ABC News

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