On August 8, 2019, Ohio State University filed application no. 88/571,984 with the USPTO for the trademark "THE". The application was brought to light by trademark attorney Josh Gerben on Twitter.
Filed in class 25, the application covers "Clothing, namely, t-shirts, baseball caps and hats." A specimen was submitted along with the application, showing a red Nike shirt brandishing the word "THE" in block text above the Ohio State University logo.
The "THE" application, as it appears on the USPTO's Trademark Status & Document Retrieval page.
Other universities have responded with ribbing, such as the University of Michigan's tweet of the word "OF" behind its logo.
The application is now awaiting examination, but it may face some difficulty progressing to registration. For example, is the word "THE" sufficiently distinctive to warrant protection as a brand? We will continue to monitor this application for updates.
For further information on what constitutes a distinctive brand, contact us.
The Ohio State University has filed a trademark application on the word "THE."
The filing, made on August 8th, indicates #OhioState is offering a brand of "THE" clothing.