BATTLE FOR AN ARTICLE – “THE”
Authored By : Hariprasath karunakaran
Co-author – Rutuparna Acharya
It is not often seen a university fighting a legal suit with respect to trademark issue but still furiously protect them, being that universities are the places which provides knowledge of how to practically implement such knowledge. With such precedence, recently Ohio State University fought the tough legal battle to add the word ‘THE’ before its name. Yes, a legal suit to prefix one particular letter. So, before going into the issue on focus it’s imperative to understand the subject matter of the dispute that is trademark. Typically, companies utilize trademarks to distinguish their products, including keywords, slogans, emblems, and insignia. Nevertheless, registration of a trademark is also possible for noises, smells, colours, and forms. It is quite obvious that any institution depends on its name to top the rankings and become student’s favorite. Imagine removing the word Chandigarh from Chandigarh University, it won’t be the same well renowned which gets into everyone’s mind even without spilling out details about it. So, Ohio State University also wanted the right over the word ‘The’ so that it can distinguish it from others and stand alone.
The word in advance of the title is essential to the institution’s identity, as per to Ohio State’s argument. Every year, about $12.5 million is generated from merchandise the college ‘s name, contributing to support educational initiatives and pupil grants. State institutions often have three termed names; thus Ohio State stands out from the throng thanks to the in its moniker. In an attempt to set itself apart from the logos of Oregon State University and Oklahoma State College, the institution introduced the decider in 1986. The soccer team members at the university go out of their effort to underline this difference when presenting themselves, demonstrating how integral it has become to the school’s image. Some ironic Ohio State clothing only has THE in strong letters and leaves out the rest of the title. While the university requested that footballers use the term “the” when identifying oneself in the middle of the 1990s, the practice of stressing it quickly gained popularity. When NFL programs included video of athletes stating their names and alumni maters, it turned into a joke. Alumni from OSU made a point of claiming to be from “THE Ohio State University.” Even “Saturday Evening Live” mocked the OSU player entrance.
The University in contention in this article attempted to trademark “The” in 2019 but was unsuccessful because to Marc Jacobs, a clothes entrepreneur, who was also attempting to do the same. The trademark appeared to be used in a “merely decorative manner” and as a “ornamental feature,” not as a trademark that would distinguish the products from those of others, according to the patent office, which rejected Ohio State’s initial application.
They came to an arrangement in 2021 that would enable two of them to file trademark applications for the term; Ohio State’s mark is only allowed to be used on apparel (hats and T-shirts) purchased via “channels usual to the field of sporting and college activities.
The protection over the word “THE” won’t be very extensive. Its associated enforcement powers are also very, very limited being it a very narrowed registration.