Friday, April 30, 1999

OSU, OU settle dispute over 'Ohio'

Deal heads off patent hearing

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Ohio State University and Ohio University have agreed to settle a legal fight about using the word Ohio by using another word: share.

        Lawyers continue to work out details, but Thursday's announcement ends a dispute that was headed to a federal patent appeal board. Thousands of dollars in royalties were at stake.

        “It's important to us to have it behind us,” said OU President Robert Glidden. “I've never considered it that serious an issue, but a lot of other people do.”

        Under the deal, Ohio University keeps its trademark on the word. Ohio State drops its challenge and may use the word in marketing and merchandising when it is similar to past uses, Mr. Glidden said.

        The Ohio attorney general's office will mediate disputes that the schools can't settle on their own, he said.

        The fight was not an attempt to take anything away from Ohio State, Mr. Glidden said. Rather, Ohio University wanted to uphold its separate identity and protect royalties, he said.

        “In the world at large, we get confused with Ohio State University all the time,” he said.

        Mr. Glidden talked to Ohio State President William Kirwan for months about the issue, but neither of the friends had time to discuss it in enough depth to settle. At a Board of Regents meeting last week, they decided to work out the controversy, he said.

        Mr. Kirwan did not return a message left at his office.

        Ohio State earns about $3 million per year in royalties from licensed products, although less than 1 percent is from the word Ohio. Ohio University earns about $100,000 annually, but wants more.

        In 1995, Ohio University obtained a trademark registration for Ohio and asked Ohio State to limit use of the word.

        Ohio State objected, saying it has used Ohio officially to promote the school since it was founded in 1870.


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