COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State University is seeking to trademark the word "the" when used in connection with the university's name and merchandise.
The Columbus Post Dispatch reports the university submitted its trademark application on Aug. 8 to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C.
The filing hopes to protect the school's formal name, The Ohio State University, from being used without permission on marketing items like T-shirts and baseball caps.
"Like other institutions, Ohio State works to vigorously protect the university's brand and trademarks," Chris Davey, a spokesman for the University said in a statement to the Columbus Post Dispatch. "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."
Ohio State has trademarked other things in the past. In 2015, the university had head football coach Urban Meyer's name trademarked and it also secured a trademark designation for former football coach Woody Hayes in 2016, according to the Columbus Post Dispatch. In obtaining the trademark for Hayes, the university said royalties from sales would be designated for a scholarship fund.
"The" is one of the most commonly used words in the English language. The trademark would not allow Ohio State to control the word for uses outside of its association with the university's name.
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