There’s been some drama between the Oklahoma Sooners and Ohio State Buckeyes recently, most notably with the Sooners’ road win in Ohio Stadium and the subsquent Baker Mayfield flag-planting heard around the world. Well, now that rivalry is headed to…the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board? As Joe Mussato of The Oklahoman writes, Oklahoma is trying to trademark a block O symbol, and Ohio State is opposing them given their own history with a block O:
The notice of opposition was filed last week. Ohio State uses the block “O” as its primary logo, and the school extensively outlines the history of its use in the action.
The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents filed a trademark application for the mark in December 2017. OU claims its block “O” has been in commercial use since 2001. The mark is most noticeable to Sooner fans as the logo on the chest of the drum major.
Ohio State claims it has used the block “O” since 1898 and that Oklahoma’s applied-for mark is “highly similar” and that “confusion is likely.”
It’s notable that the block O has long been used by the Ohio State athletic department (as seen at above left), and that it was even adopted as the logo of the university as a whole back in 2013. Meanwhile, just a block O itself is less common at Oklahoma, with most of their branding featuring the block O (which does look very similar to Ohio State’s) mixed in with a block U. That logo can be seen here. However, as noted in Mussato’s piece, Oklahoma claims they’ve also been using just the block O commercially since 2001, and it is used by itself in some cases with “Oklahoma” written across it, which does help it to stand out from the Ohio State one. One of those uses is on the chest of the drum major; that logo is seen at right above, in a screenshot taken from this YouTube clip:
We’ll see if either side’s successful outright in this trademark battle, or if this leads to some sort of settlement the way the Army Black Knights-Vegas Golden Knights dispute did. We’ll also see if either school will be able to block on O this football season.