- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 14, 2019

“The” Ohio State University soon could have “the” most annoying trademark protection out there — emphasis on the “the.”

Ohio State has filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office seeking a trademark on the word “the” for use on apparel, ESPN reported.

The state university officially added “the” to the front of its name in 1878, and its logo was later changed to reflect that in 1986. it’s become a tradition for alumni in the world of sports and beyond to refer to their alma mater by emphasizing the word “The.”

School spokesman Chris Davey likened the three-letter word to an “asset” at Ohio State’s disposal.

“Like other institutions, Ohio State works to vigorously protect the university’s brand and trademarks,” 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.”

A trademark on “the” would not mean everyone would have to pay Ohio State for every spoken usage of the word. But the school apparently wants to print T-shirts, hats and other Buckeye athletic gear that simply feature the word “The.”

The 11th edition of the Oxford Dictionary claimed “the” was the most commonly used word in the written English language.

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