After three years, Ohio State University finally settled a trademark battle over the word “THE” on Tuesday.

The Big Ten school will now be permitted to use the word as part of its branding on clothing including t-shirts, baseball caps and hats, and the trademark applies to clothing and accessories “promoted, distributed, and sold through channels customary to the field of sports and collegiate athletics.”

The battle was a three-year one for the university in an effort to get the trademark that was originally rejected because luxury fashion brand Marc Jacobs had already filed their own trademark application for the word several months before OSU.

The two parties resolved their dispute in a manner that allowed both to use the word in 2021. However, in addition to that battle, OSU ran into an issue with the United States Patent and Trademark Office because it seemed “merely ornamental.” It took until this week from the time the dispute was settled with Marc Jacobs for the argument to be won.

“THE” Ohio State University is a big part of the school’s identity and branding. According to USA Today, beginning in 2005, the Buckeyes began using the word “THE” on merchandise and has done so ever since. The university’s licensing and trademark program generates over $12.5 million per year in revenue.

In a statement, Ben Johnson, OSU’s senior director of media and public relations, celebrated the victory. He said it would help the school “support student scholarships, libraries, and other university initiatives.”

Ryan Day Ohio State Football
Head Coach Ryan Day of the Ohio State Buckeyes watches his team during the Spring Game at Ohio Stadium on April 17, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
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