No, it’s not an April fools joke—The Ohio State University is reportedly seeking a trademark for the word “THE” to be used on a line of branded clothing.
For the uninitiated, this trademark attempt comes in reference to the emphasis which is often placed on the first word in the university’s legal name (“THE” Ohio State University), much to the chagrin of non-Buckeyes everywhere.
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Attorney Josh Gerben, who frequently breaks down copyright-related news on Twitter, gives his assessment of the situation in the post embedded below:
As Gerben explains, OSU may have some obstacles to overcome in securing the rights to the most commonly used word in the English language (according to the Oxford English Corpus).
Shocking as it may seem, just putting the word “The” on the front of a hat or or t-shirt is not considered adequate usage qualifying for trademark.