Even Kirk Herbstreit Thinks THE Ohio State Is Being THE Silliest With Its 'THE' Trademark Application

from the touchdown dept

A few weeks back, we talked about the dumbest trademark application I've ever seen, with the Ohio State University deciding to try to get a trademark on one of the most commonly used determiners in the English language: "The." Honestly, the whole thing is painfully stupid, as trademarking such a common word cannot possibly be worked into the original purpose of trademark law, but here we are. The only good thing thus far to come out of all of this was the University of Michigan's playful suggestion that maybe it should trademark the word "Of."

Fortunately, it wasn't just us IP nerds who found all of this so silly. The public reaction writ large was fairly negative, with plenty of fun being had at the temerity of OSU. But what about OSU fans themselves? How would they react, given that all of this is built on the haughty insistence of NFL players emphasizing the "the" when announcing what school they attended?

Well, Kirk Herbstreit is a useful thermometer for this, given that he is both probably college football's most recognized analyst and a former OSU football player. And, man, does he not have kind words for his alma mater.

College GameDay analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who played quarterback for the Buckeyes in the 1990s, was the subject of an interview with For The Win this week. He was asked about the whole trademark situation. He did not hold back.

"I've never really bought into that. My dad played at Ohio State, my dad coached with Woody Hayes. Ohio State’s always been Ohio State. I have a diploma that I’m looking at right now, and it says, “The” — T-H-E — Ohio State University, and nobody’s called it “The” Ohio State University, ever, as I grew up in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. And then one night on Monday Night Football — I don’t remember who the player was but he said, “The Ohio State University,” and it stuck. And from that point on, all the fans and everybody started saying “The,” “The,” “The.” To me, it’s Ohio State — always has been, always will be. I think it’s kind of ridiculous, the whole “The” thing.

It comes across to me as very arrogant. I’m just not a fan of it. I didn’t grow up with it. Nobody’s more Ohio State than me, and I never heard it. I never heard “The” in my life until maybe about 15 years ago."

Yeah, all of that. But when this move is getting this kind of reaction from someone like Herbstreit, you really have to start to wonder just what OSU is doing in keeping any of this up. It's a trademark that should, and probably will, be rejected for lacking originality and being too generic. It's a trademark that, by its nature, can't possibly be all that valuable even if granted. And it's apparently at best making the school look quite arrogant, if not creating outright anger, even among Ohio State fans.

It's time to realize this play isn't working and abandon it. It's the smart thing to do.

Filed Under: kirk herbstreit, the, trademark
Companies: ohio state


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  • icon
    hij (profile), 4 Sep 2019 @ 7:11pm

    Marketing opportunity

    If this trademark goes through does it mean I can start selling "An Ohio State University" t-shirts?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 4 Sep 2019 @ 8:37pm

    My trademark

    Thee. I am only thinking of Thee!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 4 Sep 2019 @ 9:11pm

    And I always thought VPISU was the weirdest college naming thing I'd seen... till now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 5 Sep 2019 @ 1:45am

    Herbstreit is making a different case.

    Herbstreit says it's a stupid name, not a stupid trademark application. Of course it can be both, but one is not evidence for the other.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pete Austin, 5 Sep 2019 @ 3:34am

    Please can someone Trademark the word "Trademark"?

    The best way to end this kind of nonsense is for someone to trademark the word "trademark" and the trademark symbol. Happy to help crowdfund the application.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    digitalmarketingagency (profile), 5 Sep 2019 @ 6:19am

    Best digital marketing agency

    Best Digital marketing agency providing Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Paid Ads, Facebook Marketing, and Website design
    Services.
    https://uniqwebtech.com/digital-marketing-agency/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    any moose cow word, 5 Sep 2019 @ 7:51am

    I'd first heard about it 20 years ago from an employee who pointed out "the" in the official university name, and she had worked there for years, so the push started long before Herbstreit. Others in the university administration would punctuate the name when they said it too. I'm surprised that their legal department ever thought the plan was a good idea. It feeds into the stereotype that academics live in their own world, cloistered away in the ivory tower.

    BTW, it should make anyone think twice about attending their law school if they gave no push back to the stupidity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Griffdog (profile), 5 Sep 2019 @ 10:10am

    The Office of Silly Ubbreviations

    Isn't it about time for the Buckeyes to differentiate themselves from the real OSU, Oklahoma State University? If Ohio State is so proud of its "The," then they should be calling themselves TOSU.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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