Ohio State challenges Tulane brand: ‘The’ fight is on

Josh Axelrod, Views Editor

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Our audacity is being tested.

The Ohio State University, whose self-professed official name includes the article “the,” has come up with an ingenious idea — one so brilliant it makes you wonder how you didn’t come up with it first in all its head-scratching, so-stupid-it’s-actually-smart glory: a trademark on the word “the.”

The article of speech, according to the Corpus of Contemporary American English, is the most popular word in the English language. It takes true arrogance to believe one should legally own this word. Arrogance we should be emulating here, at Tulane.

For too long, our signature words and phrases have been jacked by peer institutions and burglarizing miscreants, intent on pilfering our divinely-ordained right to certain words. The time has come to reclaim our legal property.

Our fight with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office should begin with the word “university.” Thousands of institutions of higher education utilize this word in their name, from Kentucky’s Draculan-named Transylvania University to McDonald’s corporate training facility, Hamburger University.

These names make a mockery of Tulane and come at the expense of our rich history. As the only school in the country to transition from public to private, leaving behind the dour-sounding “Medical College of Louisiana” for the regal name of “Tulane University,” we deserve exclusive claim to the educational title.

Once our first patent petition clears, Tulane’s legal office should move on to the oft-cried cheer: “Roll Wave!” Though the University of Alabama already owns the the right to “Roll Tide!”, our juridical sluggishness need not spell the end of our linguistic supremacy.

Ashley Chen | Senior Staff Artist

A trademark simply on the word “roll” would invalidate Alabama’s previous claim and protect our intellectual property among university football fans in addition to all dice rollers, rock-n-rollers, roll call callers, sleeve roller-uppers and Rolling Stones.

Finally, we must lay claim to perhaps our most important piece of Green Wave lingo: “audacious.” No word encapsulates the Tulane spirit more precisely than this spirit-capturing descriptor.

Legal action must be taken immediately. It is only a matter of time before copycat fundraising campaigns pop up across the country to usurp our own.

“Only The Intrepid” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Loyola knows that, and so do we. If we don’t act soon, we could be chasing donors flocking to the Hamburger University’s Audacious Spacious Tasting Station, funneling their condiment-funding dollars into a less worthy — albeit yummier-sounding — cause than our own.

Ohio State recognizes the value of its brand and is working to shield it from rapacious freeloaders. We must follow suit and safeguard that which is rightfully ours.

An OSU spokesperson released a statement to the Columbus Dispatch, saying, “Like other institutions, Ohio State works to vigorously protect the university’s brand and trademarks. These assets hold significant value, which benefits our students and faculty and the broader community by supporting our core academic mission of teaching and research.”

This brand awareness deserves imitation, though not the kind that violates U.S. trademark law. For if Tulane continues to dawdle on trademarks, we might need to change “Only the Audacious” to “Oftentimes the Meek!”

We’d sooner roll over dead than compromise our audacity.