The Ohio State University won their attempt to trademark the word “THE”. (CNN) — The Ohio State University (OSU) officially registered a trademark for the word “THE” after a nearly three-year battle to gain legal access to a word that is deeply meaningful to Americans. the overall identity of the school. The university in Columbus will use the word “THE” for branded products associated with the school and sold through its sports and collegiate channels, OSU spokesman Ben Johnson said Wednesday in a statement to CNN. “THE has been a rallying cry in the Ohio State community for many years, and Buckeye fans who purchase official Ohio State apparel support student scholarships, libraries and other university initiatives,” Johnson said. . The university filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2019, after fashion designer Marc Jacobs also filed to trademark the same word, Johnson said. Last year, the university and the designer reached an agreement that allows them both to register “THE” branded products for continued use and license, Johnson explained. “Like other institutions, Ohio State works to protect the university’s brand and trademarks because these assets benefit students and faculty and support our core academic mission of teaching and research,” Johnson said. The university’s trademark and licensing program generates an average of more than $12.5 million annually in revenue, which provides funding for university programs and student scholarships, according to Johnson’s statement. The university began using “the” in its name in 1986, when the institution introduced a new logo in hopes of moving away from the “OSU” symbol, according to the school. The intent was, in part, to distinguish it from two other schools with the same initials: Oregon State University and Oklahoma State University. The trend to emphasize the word “the” started in the mid-1990s, when the school wanted football players to use it when introducing themselves. It became a meme when NFL broadcasts showed clips of players saying their names and alma mater. OSU alumni emphasized that they were from THE Ohio State University. That introduction of the OSU players was even parodied on “Saturday Night Live.” CNN’s Melissa Gray contributed to this report.
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