What’s your favorite word?
That’s a hard question to answer and probably one few people have a good answer for. Yes, it’s a little off-the-wall. Do you know what your answer would be?
For Ohio State fans and alumni, their answer might just be the word “the.” As in one of the most-commonly used words in the English language. If The Ohio State University, as it’s formally known, has its way, it will be the owner of the word.
Well, kind of.
Ohio State filed this week for a trademark on the word. It might sound silly on the surface, but the college says it would use the trademark for use on clothing and hats, presumably making any other unlicensed T-shirt makers to either close up shop or pay a fee for the use of “the.”
It won’t mean everybody will have to send a nickel to Columbus, Ohio, whenever the appears in print or conversation. If that’s not the case, then let’s just keep this column between you, me and my wallet.
How much does ownership of a word cost these days? Consider the word “we.” When the company WeWork rebranded itself in January, it tried to file a copyright on “we,” but found out it was already owned by another company. WeWork, according to report by Bloomberg, purchased the word for $5.9 million, a number both parties came to with the help of a third-party appraiser.
First off, what are the qualifications for someone to help decide how much money words are worth and where do I send my resume?
Second, since I’m a person who always thinks of ways to make a quick buck, I wonder what words I could perhaps copyright so I could one day find myself almost $6 million richer. I’m always reading about “millennials” in headlines and how young people my age are ruining everything from bar soap to the economy. I’m not sure if “spiked seltzer” is already copyrighted or not, but it seems like every week another beer brand is releasing a bubblier, tastier alternative.
Maybe I should copyright my own name so every time it appears in print or online. I wonder if my bosses will go for that idea.
All payments in the form of nickels can be directed to my email address below.
Pete Sirianni is the New Castle News digital editor. Email him at email@example.com.