“Ohio State seeks to trademark the word ‘The'”

“Ohio State is seeking a trademark on one of the most common words in the English language. The school, formally known as The Ohio State University, is seeking a trademark on the word ‘The’ for use on clothing and hats.” [ESPN] The rival University of Michigan responded:

Meanwhile, a small firm in Wales called Boss Brewing has changed the name of some of its products following trademark opposition and cease and desist correspondence from the German clothing maker Hugo Boss. [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]

Update: the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has sent a letter to Ohio State indicating that the application will be rejected, although one of its reasons might be unsettling, namely that another applicant (the Marc Jacobs fashion house) had already filed to seek a trademark on the word “The” as applied to handbags, knapsacks, and the like [Caron/TaxProf]


  • As Mary McCarthy might have put it, “Every word in their filing is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’.”

  • Isn’t Rutgers University officially known as Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey?

    Does this mean there will be a knock-down, drag out fight between OSU and Rutgers? Rutgers traces its roots back to 1766, whereas OSU only goes back to 1870.