Ohio State University has won its fight to trademark the word "The."
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved the university's request on Tuesday. The school says it allows Ohio State to control the use of "The" on branded products associated with and sold through athletics and collegiate channels. These include such items as T-shirts, baseball caps, and hats.
A university spokesman noted that "THE" has been a rallying cry in the Ohio State community for many years. The university's licensing and trademark program generates over $12.5 million a year in revenue, which helps fund student scholarships and university programs.
The patent office rejected Ohio State’s initial application, finding the trademark appeared to be used for “merely decorative manner” and as an “ornamental feature” that didn’t appear to function as a trademark that would differentiate the items from others.