The Ohio State University's attempting to trademark the word 'THE' has been denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The university filed to trademark the name back in August, with the filing showing the university wanted to use it for a clothing line.
Ohio State said they have received a "NonFinal Office Action from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which is not unusual. We are reviewing our options and have six months to respond." The patent office's response shows they refused their application based on the grounds it's "merely ornamental" and what they showed is "merely a decorative or ornamental feature of applicant's clothing and thus, does not function as a trademark...to identify and distinguish applicant's clothing from others."
The University can respond and overcome the refusal by making changes and satisfying certain terms, including making it distinctive so the trademark is easily associated with and identified as coming from Ohio State.
Josh Gerben, a copyright attorney, initially discovered the filing, and posted on Twitter about the trademark, saying he thought it was likely to be refused initially.