The Ohio State University recently filed a trademark application for the word “THE.”  The filing made national headlines as many wondered how anyone could own a trademark on just the word “THE.”

Josh Gerben was quoted by The Columbus Dispatch discussing Ohio State’s reasons for making the trademark filing and what type of legal protection an eventual registration would provide.

“Ohio State’s proposed trademark is meant for a narrow application, not for the everyday use of the word.”

“The application was denied because the Jacobs application was filed first. Also, OSU’s application, which showed designs of how “THE” would be used, lacked the required mark or label on the inside of the cap or on the collar of a T-shirt or sweatshirt.”

“Procedurally, OSU can ask for its application to be suspended pending the outcome of the Jacobs case.”

“This is likely Ohio State’s next step as we wait and see if Marc Jacobs continues to pursue its own trademark filing.”

“OSU will have an opportunity to file a formal opposition over the Jacobs application.”

“This means we could be set up for a legal showdown over the word ‘THE’ in the clothing space. In all likelihood, Marc Jacobs and Ohio State will work together behind the scenes to try to resolve this matter before any litigation would get started.”

Source: Williams, Mark. “Ohio State and the fight to trademark the word ‘THE’”. Dispatch.com. October 12 2019.