The university wants to trademark "The" for new t-shirts, baseball caps, and hats

By Claudia Harmata
August 15, 2019 11:55 AM
Kevin C. Cox/Getty

Ohio State University is getting ridiculed by some other colleges and universities — but this time, it’s not over a sports rivalry.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, the Big 10 school recently filed for a trademark on one of the most commonly used words in the English dictionary: “The.”

The filing, which was made on August 8, is pursuing a trademark on the word “The” so that the university can use it on new merchandise — which would include T-shirts, baseball caps and hats.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for confirmation.

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“Like other institutions, Ohio State works to vigorously protect the university’s brand and trademarks,” a university spokesman, Chris Davey, told The Columbus Dispatch in a statement. “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.”

Some rival schools were quick to poke fun at the university for their request.

The University of Michigan had a hilarious response to the news on Twitter, sharing a photo where the word “OF” was bolded and center stage, while captioning the tweet with the trademark symbol, “TM.”

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Ohio University also called out the school with its own Tweet.

“Good morning from THE first university in the state of Ohio.

,” they wrote while sharing a photo of their plaque.

Ohio State previously got into a dispute in 2017 with Oklahoma State University when they wanted to trademark the acronym “OSU.” The two schools later came to an agreement that allowed both to use it on a national basis, according to the Dispatch.

It has also previously trademarked the names of some of its football coaches, including Urban Meyer in 2015, and Woody Hayes in 2016, as well as phrases such as “Script Ohio” and “The Shoe.”

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