There’s no question in Ohio what those three letters on a scarlet and gray sweatshirt stand for.
But with a pending trademark application filed with the federal government, it’s a matter of O-S-who?
Ohio State University, which already owns a host of trademarks, filed an application in February with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, seeking to trademark “OSU,” specifically on clothing and apparel.
But another university that holds the acronym near and dear is stepping in.
Oklahoma State University filed for an extension with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, indicating it plans to file a notice of opposition to the trademark request. The office approved that request, granting Oklahoma State until the end of August to file its objection.
The two universities have had concurrent usage agreements in the past, as well as with Oregon State, said Oklahoma State spokesman Gary Shutt.
“Those agreements have worked well for all involved,” Shutt said Tuesday in an emailed statement.
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Oklahoma State and Ohio State each have trademarks on “OSU” dating back to the late 70s, applying to sports events and recreation programs, entertainment and education. Ohio State’s trademark covers 19 states—mostly in the Midwest and on the east coast. Oklahoma State’s trademark covers 17 western and southern states.
Then there’s Iowa, where those three little letters create a battle line of sorts. The state is split nearly down the middle, with Oklahoma State’s trademark applying to 54 western counties and Ohio State’s applying to 45 eastern ones.
Spokesmen from both universities said they’re confident the current apparel trademark issue will be resolved.
“This isn’t a conflict of schools,” said Ohio State spokesman Chris Davey. “This is the type of item that arises from time to time in (administering) a trademark.”
“We are constantly evaluating the licensing landscape to protect Oklahoma State University’s interests,” Shutt said. “We look forward to talking to Ohio State about joint use and making sure our universities and our fans are best served.”