Trademark News & Screw-ups Design of Mother Teresa's sari trademarked to combat "misuse"

No matter what you think of Mother Teresa, whether you cherish her accomplishments or think of her as a tool in someone else's hands, whether you think altruism is good or bad, Mother Teresa was, first and foremost, a BRAND. What "Google" is for search engines, "Mother Teresa" was for altruism. And brands—even when the brand represents altruism—need to be built, protected, and, eventually, monetized. Trademarking the pattern of her sari is a pretty clever idea—as long as it indeed symbolizes Mother Teresa. Idols and myths, just like brands, only endure as long as their use by the masses is centrally controlled. Religions do this, rock stars do this, armies of PR agents do this. And trademarks provide a great vehicle for doing just that.

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