Ohio St. is now THE Butt of a Thousand Jokes
THE subject of this story is something that at first I thought was a joke only to discover it was serious. If you haven't heard: Ohio State University has apparently decided it was worth trying to pursue a Trademark within the last couple of weeks.
THE item the Buckeyes determined was worth getting a Trademark for.....the word THE.
Yes, really, apparently THE brilliant marketing minds behind THE state of Ohio's largest school has determined we mere mortals should recognize their collective need to have a Trademark symbol beside THE word THE....
Heck, THE school even went on record defending THE pursuit, claiming they "Work vigorously to protect their brands and trademarks". Which is all well and good....except THE word "THE" is not something associated with Ohio State and is utilized by, well, almost everyone who speaks English. The onus however is on THE University to prove a distinctive usage outside the meaning of the word. Which in this case, I hope will be the challenge.
Quite honestly---despite a fairly decent background in how to utilize computers---I'm not even sure what combination of keys I would have to use to add a Registered Trademark symbol every time I used THE word.
I'm hoping THE U.S Patent and Trademark Office will react THE same way almost everyone outside THE bizarre cadre of Ohio State supporters and laugh this idea off. But considering THE bizarre world we now occupy, I'm not assuming anything.
Listen, I actually understand what THE Marketing arm of THE University is trying to do. In all honesty, it is not incredibly weird for an entity to request a Trademark on an original phrase or slogan they came up with or devised. If said business or marketers don't get said exclusivity on their creation---they could potentially lose a ton of money to someone else.
Probably THE best example I can think of off the top of my head: Back in the late 1980's---THE Los Angeles Lakers after winning their second NBA Title ended up Trademarking something then Head Coach Pat Riley said in their Championship Parade---he said on a podium in front of thousands upon thousands of fans, THE Lakers would pursue a "Three-Peat".
However, attempting to Trademark for a phrase or word used in everyday conversation or used in abundance by writers is in some ways a bit frightening. Imagine having to write....well, just about anything... knowing words or phrases commonly used to tell a story or document an event had to be prefaced by a Trademark symbol.
Heck, maybe I'm over-reacting and Ohio State won't require us all to use THE Trademark symbol before using THE word THE.
Nah, that would require them to be self-aware, not greedy and just plain respectful to anyone other than themselves---something most anyone who isn't an alumni, student or fan of the school has never been accused of.
Most have made THE issue THE butt of jokes on Twitter and other places. There have been quite a few National Columnists chiming in too.....
At THE end of THE day, I really, really hope this gets laughed at by the Patent and Trademark Office---THE idea of a business---and don't mistake the intent, Ohio State is doing this as a maneuver to make MORE money--having a business own a trademark on a VERY commonly used word is a path we don't need to go down.
Imagine living in a world where everything written, any qualifier or phrase commonly used is now THE intellectual property of a "For Profit" institution. And folks, you can dance around it any way you want but Ohio State is a "Power 5" College Football Program and as one of those---every and anything they do revolves around making themselves even more money......