Ohio State University Wins Trademark for Word 'THE' After Years-Long Legal Battle

·2 min read
Ohio State University
Ohio State University

Denis Tangney Jr/Getty Images The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University has officially trademarked the word "THE."

Years after first filing an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2019, the school's trademark was officially registered as of Tuesday, according to online records.

"Ohio State is pleased to have received a trademark for THE on branded products associated with and sold through athletics and collegiate channels," Ben Johnson, OSU's senior director of media and public relations, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

"THE has been a rallying cry in the Ohio State community for many years, and Buckeye fans who purchase official Ohio State gear support student scholarships, libraries and other university initiatives," Johnson continued, going on to state the school's licensing and trademark program generates over $12.5 million every year.

Per NBC News, the trademark is specifically for official school merchandise with just "THE" featured.

RELATED: N.J. College Student Gets More Than Her Degree When Her Boyfriend Proposes on Stage at Graduation

The official Twitter account for the school's football team, The Ohio State Buckeyes, celebrated with a short and sweet social media post, sharing an illustration of "The" scrawled on a page.

Choosing to let the image speak for itself, the team posted it without a caption.

As for why the school calls itself "THE" Ohio State University, the origins of the moniker date back to the 1870s.

"In 1986, a new University logo was introduced in the hopes of moving away from the 'OSU' symbol, which had been used since 1977," reads a post on the school's website. "University officials wanted the institution to be known as 'The Ohio State University,' again, since OSU could also mean Oregon State and Oklahoma State University."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

"However, the 'The' was actually part of the state legislation when the university was renamed in 1878," the explanation continues, noting that the institution was previously called the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College.

The website adds, "Legend also has it that 'The' was used to show the other colleges which institution was supposed to be the leader in the state - both in size and in financial support from the legislature."

RELATED: Soldier Comes Back from Deployment and Surprises Sister at Her College Graduation — See the Emotional Reunion

Ohio State began pursuing the trademark in August 2019 shortly after designer Marc Jacobs filed a separate application, according to the school's statement.

"In 2021, the university was pleased to reach an agreement with Jacobs that allows both parties to register THE branded products for continued use and license," the statement concluded.