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It’s probably one of the most commonly used words in the English language, and now Ohio State University legally owns the word “THE”.
The story of how it came to acquire the word originates in 2019, when the university first attempted to get the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to grant a trademark over the word “THE” to use on hats and t-shirts.
In a Twitter thread, trademark attorney Josh Gerben explained what happened.
Its 2019 request was rejected at the time by the USPTO because it claimed that the trademark was “merely ornamental” and because designer clothing company Marc Jacobs had also filed an application for “THE” months earlier.
The school then made an attempt to show the USPTO that the trademark was not simply ornamental and also opposed the Marc Jacobs trademark application.
Between them, Marc Jacobs and Ohio State University settled the dispute in August 2021, agreeing that they could both have ownership of the word.
\u201cThe Ohio State University has successfully registered a trademark for "THE." \n\nThe registration was just issued on June 21st by the USPTO.\n\nThe application was filed back in August 2019. So why did it take 3 years to get approved?\n\nA thread\ud83e\uddf5\u201d