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Ohio State University successfully trademarks 'THE' for athletic apparel

Ohio State University successfully trademarks 'THE' for athletic apparel
Ohio State University has successfully trademarked “THE” in certain uses and for certain types of apparel, according to paperwork filed with the U.S.Patent and Trademark Office. File Photo by Art Foxall/UPI | License Photo

June 22 (UPI) -- Ohio State University has successfully trademarked "THE" in certain uses and for certain brands, according to paperwork filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The public, land-grant research university in Columbus was awarded the trademark this week for use on "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," according to the trademark office.

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It has long used "THE" as part of the branding for its NCAA sports teams, the Buckeyes.

The registration certificate allows Ohio State to control use of "THE" displayed on the covered merchandise.

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The school first applied for the trademark in August 2019, but that was denied.

Ohio State had also been in litigation with clothing brand Marc Jacobs over use of the word. The two sides later reached an agreement.

Ohio State said it had been using "THE" on T-shirts and hats dating to 2005, giving it a legitimate claim to the trademark.

"This is a defensive action in response to designer Marc Jacobs' response to the office action in his application, which includes an example of his intended use that signals a potential encroachment on the established use of 'The' by Ohio State," university spokesperson Ben Johnson told The Lantern in 2020.

The trademark is good for 10 years, but can be renewed.

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