Ohio State University obtains a trademark for the word “THE”


COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University has officially registered a trademark for the word “THE” after a nearly three-year battle to win legal access to a word that is deeply meaningful to the school’s overall identity.

Columbus University will use the word “THE” for branded merchandise associated with the school and sold through its athletics and college channels, OSU spokesman Ben Johnson said in a statement Wednesday. at CNN.

“THE has been a rallying cry in the Ohio State community for many years, and Buckeye fans who purchase official Ohio State gear support scholarships, libraries and other university initiatives,” Johnson said.

The university filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2019 after fashion designer Marc Jacobs also filed a trademark for the same word, Johnson said.

Last year, the university and the designer entered into an agreement that allows them both to register “THE” branded products for continued use and licensing, Johnson explained.

“Like other institutions, Ohio State strives to protect the university’s brand and trademarks because these assets benefit students and faculty and support our core academic mission of teaching and research. “, Johnson said.

The university’s trademarks and licensing program averages more than $12.5 million in revenue annually, which funds academic programs and scholarships, according to Johnson’s statement.

The university began using “the” with its name in 1986 when the institution introduced a new logo in hopes of moving away from the “OSU” symbol, according to the school. This move was in part to distinguish it from two other schools with the same initials – Oregon State University and Oklahoma State University.

The trend of emphasizing the word “the” took off in the mid-1990s, when the school wanted football players to use it when introducing themselves. It became a meme when NFL broadcasts featured clips of players saying their names and alma maters. OSU alumni pointed out that they belong to “THE Ohio State University.” This OSU player intro was even parodied by “Saturday Night Live”.

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