Ohio State University, or as they would like people to say, The Ohio State University, was denied the trademark of the word "the" by the United States Patent & Trademark office, according to Darren Rovell and public documents obtained by the USPTO. Ohio State has six months to respond to the refusal.
JUST IN: The US Patent & Trademark Office has issued an initial decision on Ohio State's attempt to trademark the word "THE." They have refused the application.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 11, 2019
The USPTO's document lists says it was refused because "the applied-for mark as used on the specimen of record is merely a decorative or ornamental feature of applicant's clothing and, thus, does not function as a trademark to indicate the source of applicant's clothing and to identify and distinguish applicant's clothing from others."
Basically this ruling says is that the word wanting to be trademarked cannot just be on the apparel, but has to be part of the marketing and must be on the tag or label as well. Ohio State is not using the trademark properly according to the USPTO, and could reapply if they do begin to label their clothing in a way that goes along with the trademark guidelines.
The universityon August 8, trying to make sure no one was able to use their school's full name, The Ohio State University, on merchandise without their permission. According to the trademark application they wanted the word "the" to be protected when being used on anything that was marketed and put on sale.
Upon the initial filing, Ohio state spokesperson Chris Davey said, "Like other institutions, Ohio State works to vigorously protect the university's brand and trademarks. These assets hold significant value, which benefits our students and faculty and the broader community by supporting our core academic mission of teaching and research."