COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University’s trademark application for the word “THE” has been refused by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), according to trademark attorney Josh Gerben.
OSU filed the application on August 8 specifying that the trademark was for a brand of clothing. Ohio State had also submitted designs for hats and shirts with ‘the’ as a sort of logo.
Wednesday Gerben announced the USPTO found a prior trademark application for the word “the” by clothing company Marc Jacobs. He says this could cause the refusal of Ohio State’s application if the Marc Jacobs application proceeds to registration.
At this point, however, the Marc Jacobs application has received initial refusal for not using the trademark properly.
Gerben says it’s possible that the Marc Jacobs application may go away, removing the only conflict that is currently cited against OSU.
However, the USPTO also stated that Ohio State is not properly using “the” as a trademark because they filed the trademark application as it relates to a brand of shirts and hats. Gerben says in order for the trademark to register OSU would have to use the trademark on a label for the hats and shirts and not just on the front of the product.
Ohio State has six months to make corrections and respond to the refusal.