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July 17, 2023
John Rizvi, Esq.

Ohio State University Trademarks “The”: The Patent Professor® John Rizvi on WIOD Radio in Miami

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Brian Mudd show is on US radio 610 W IoT. This one we're going to touch on here, I thought was an interesting story. So we have a lot of colleges that like to point to themselves and say we are the you. I mean, come on Miami, right. But what about what about Ohio State because they like to say they are the Ohio State University. But guess what? They were just granted a registered trademark for that. And here to talk to us about this once again, none other than Florida's own patent professor. We have John Rizvi joining us. John, are you surprised that the Ohio State University was able to trademark the?

Well, I'm not surprised. But of course, this is this is my field. So I've seen I've seen a lot of things that get trademarked that shocked the rest of the world. I mean, some people may not know, but the University of Alabama trademarked a letter. So some people are like, how can you trademark a word? Well, even letters have been trademarked. And in fact, you know, I'm a un fan, I went to the University of Miami for law school. They've, they have a trademark on the EU. Now granted, it's a logo with a green and an orange U. But they also have it in black and white. And that means they have it protected in all colors. So this is not this is not unusual. I think what a lot of people are worried about is, is this somehow going to stop? You know? Like, are they going to be infringing if they put something like the world's greatest dad or something on a t shirt, anything that has the word D? And that's not the case? That's not how trademark rights work?

Yeah, so about that. I mean, we really don't hear any of these situations come up to your point about UNM or about Alabama or whomever else? Is this a case to where by and large, it just is that really enforced? Or is it just not something that often does come up as an issue?

Well, it's it is enforced if there ends up being consumer confusion. So clearly, I think if somebody enters the like collegiate clothing market and start using the as a brand, that could become an issue, but But otherwise, I don't think there's there's anyone that's that's not selling goods that are related to collegiate clothing, I don't think they're going to have, they're not going to have any issues with using V. Sometimes for colleges, it becomes even a PR nightmare if they become overly aggressive on enforcing. So the University of Alabama actually sent a cease and desist letter to a small bakery that was putting the letter A on cakes, saying that, that they have a trademark on the letter A. And then they had to withdraw, they had to back away from that. So there's, you know, it's enforced if if I think if the university and if it's a private company, if they see a threat to their business, Apple would be an example. Some people say how can you get, you know, if there's a feeling that you can't take words of the English language, out of use because of trademark rights. Apple didn't take the word apple out of the use of the English language like you don't have to go to Publix or grocery store. And I'd be worried about pointing and saying you want that, you know, the crispy red fruit. I can't say Apple, what Apple got with their trademark, they got rights to computers, cell phones, electronics, a lot of specific classes and the use of Apple for those classes. But I think that's the big fear with the word de they're not it's not as scary if you understand how trademark rights work.

Got it. Got it. So this might be as much of an ego stroke as anything for Ohio State. It sounds like

it is. I mean, they've been you know, for and of course, I'm, I'm not from Ohio, I didn't go to the university, but apparently that's the D is critical in distinguishing them from, you know, from Oklahoma State University, and oh, gosh, I think there's something else that has OSU as the initials. So they emphasize the DEA to distinguish them from the other colleges. So the Ohio State University and the DEA becomes prominent and that's what they want to you want to get a trademark because clearly, they have about $12 million in licensing and revenues from you know, from commercializing goods and services relating to that. They don't want others to infringe on those rights. They don't want somebody else selling clothing. words related clothing caps what you know whatever. And using th e by itself

do not want to get the Oregon State folks messed up with the The Ohio State University. Yeah, it's that's that's fascinating always appreciate the insight and by the way, John's website be Patton The patent happens to be the expert in these states united and as mentioned South Florida's own So, John, appreciate it till next time.

Yep, terrific. Always a pleasure.

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