You can’t spell ‘Ohio State without ‘The,’ and the university is taking that premise to a new level with an application to trademark ‘The’ when it’s attached to ‘Ohio State University.’
On Aug. 8, the university submitted its application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office and it is pending review. According to the application, the trademark will apply to “clothing, namely, t-shirts, baseball caps and hats.”
To ensure that the ‘The’ continues to be included in the university’s name, the university has applied to trademark ‘The Ohio State University’ when used on specific merchandise, according to the application.
University spokesman Chris Davey said in an email that trademark applications are motivated by Ohio State’s brand’s value and are not unusual for universities.
“Ohio State works to vigorously protect the university’s brand and trademarks because these assets hold significant value, which benefits our students and faculty and the broader community by supporting our core academic mission of teaching and research,” Davey said.
Ohio State has filed for several other trademarks directly related to university names in the past, according to previous reporting by The Lantern.
In 2015, Caesars Entertainment casinos named a music venue “The Shoe,” a name Ohio State owns the rights to on clothing and toys. The parties reached an undisclosed settlement.
‘The Oval’ was being used in merchandise sold by outside retailers and in an effort to preserve the rights to the name, Ohio State filed for a trademark regarding ‘The Oval’ in 2017.
Ohio State’s acronym ‘OSU’ also happens to be the acronym for Oklahoma State and Oregon State, and each university has ‘OSU’ trademarked across specific states. Ohio State filed for ‘OSU’ apparel rights in 2017, but Oklahoma State objected and the two universities reached a settlement outside of court.
This story was updated on Aug. 14 at 3:55 p.m. with university comments.