Ohio State resurrects fight for ‘The’ trademark

Published 10:38 pm Monday, March 16, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — After Ohio State’s unsuccessful effort to trademark the word “The,” the university is back on defense in that fight.
It pressed its arguments in a new filing last week with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which last September had turned down the request to trademark “The” when used with the school’s name on university merchandise such as shirts and hats.
The office concluded that the word was an “ornamental feature” and that school would have to prove the trademark would allow consumers to directly associate the goods with their brand.
American fashion designer Marc Jacobs had a similar attempt at trademarking “the” rejected. His appeal of that prompted the university’s latest filing, which it described as a “defensive action” meant to stop encroachment on how the university uses the word on clothing.
The school argued that it is working to protect its brand just as other institutions do.

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