Paul L. Caron
Dean


Sunday, September 22, 2019

USPTO: Ohio State University Can’t Trademark ‘The'

Following up on my previous post, The Ohio State University Seeks To Trademark 'The': Cleveland.com, Ohio State University Can’t Trademark ‘The,' and It’s Partially Marc Jacobs’ Fault:

Ohio StateThe word “the” doesn’t belong to Ohio State University, and it’s sort of Marc Jacobs’ fault, according to a letter a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sent Wednesday to a university attorney.

The office rejected an attempt by Ohio’s flagship university to trademark the word, stylized as “THE” in all caps, in ways that signify its association with the school on T-shirts and hats.

The letter cites two reasons. One is that the Marc Jacobs fashion line beat the university to the punch, seeking to trademark “the” on May 6 for its use on handbags, knapsacks and other items. Ohio State didn’t file its application until Aug. 8.

The other reason is that Ohio State’s proposed use of it on clothing “is merely a decorative or ornamental feature of applicant’s clothing.” In other words, the word, as presented, is an add-on and not something that would help people associate it with the university.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2019/09/uspto-ohio-state-university-cant-trademark-the.html

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