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Feds Reject OSU's Effort To Trademark "The"

Sep 12, 2019

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected Ohio State University's effort to trademark the word "The" as part of a merchandising campaign. 

The office says the word appears to be used for "merely decorative manner" and as an "ornamental feature" that doesn't appear to function as a trademark that would differentiate the items from others.  Officials also told the school New York fashion designer Marc Jacobs' clothing company had already submitted an application.  The office also denied Jacobs' request. The university will have to prove the trademark would allow consumers to directly associate the goods with their brand. OSU says it will respond in six months.