MT sari 'trademarked' to stop exploitation of her brand

MT sari 'trademarked' to stop exploitation of her brand July 12, 2017

Before she snuffed it in 1997 Mother Teresa reportedly said that her name ‘should not be exploited for commercial purposes’ – but that’s not stopped some folks from making dosh from MT memorabilia. For example, the signed photo above is currently available on eBay; a snip at $1,899.99.

The same seller is offering a signed MT letter for $1,799.99.
Another seller is trying to flog a note from the infamous old fraud for $360. Ironically, it states:

Please do not make a business out of these photos.

I was prompted to investigate MT tacky paraphernalia after seeing a BBC report that MT’s distinctive sari, featuring three blue stripes on the borders, had been trademarked in India to prevent “unfair” use by people for commercial purposes
Senior nuns who work for Missionaries of Charity, a 67-year-old sisterhood which has more than 3,000 nuns worldwide, continue to wear what has now become the religious uniform of this global order.

The BBC’s Soutik Biswas said that on Monday, news washed up that the “famous” sari of the Nobel laureate nun had been quietly recognised last September by the Indian government as the intellectual property of the Missionaries of Charity in September last year, when the nun was declared a saint by the Vatican, but the order had decided not to make it public.
Biswajit Sarkar, a Kolkata-based lawyer who works pro-bono for the order, says he had applied for the trademark in 2013.
It just came to my mind that the colour-identified blue border of the sari had to be protected to prevent any future misuse for commercial purposes. If you want to wear or use the colour pattern in any form, you can write to us and if we are convinced that there is no commercial motive, we will allow it.
Because nuns said that MT had issued orders before her death that her name “should not be exploited for commercial purposes”, Sarkar helped the order to trademark her name two decades back.
Still, nuns of the order have complained that Mother Teresa’s name was being exploited for commercial gain: a school being run in her name in Nepal where teachers complained of not receiving salaries; a priest raising funds in Romania using the order’s name; shops near the order’s headquarters in Kolkata telling customers that proceeds from memorabilia sales were donated to the order; and a cooperative bank in India curiously named after the nun.
Said Sarkar

So we decided to do something about it,. Through this we are trying to tell the world that her name and reputation should not be misused.

It is also not clear how this trademark on the famous blue striped sari will be enforced. Many online shopping sites already sell variations of “unisex Mother Teresa dress”.
Also, said Biswas:

The move is bound to raise the hackles of the nun’s critics – and she has her fair share of them – who have accused her of glorifying poverty, hobnobbing with dictators, running shambolic care facilities and proselytising. ‘How can anybody appropriate a sari, which has been a traditional Indian dress,’ one of them asked me, preferring to remain unnamed.

Hat tip: Trevor Blake

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  • barriejohn

    “Critics” of the sainted Mother Teresa? Shome mishtake, shurely! But Tiswas is too late anyway:

  • Angela_K

    “Exploitation”Oh the irony! The cruel old fraud never worried about exploiting the gullible, sick or the poor when she was alive.

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  • Henry

    The poisonous albanian dried up bag must surely be the second biggest hypocrite of recent times. The biggest of course is the pope that turned her into a saint.Frankly I welcome her sainthood because its a clear demonstartion of the desperation of the rcc in its futile effort shore up its collapsing defences.

  • L.Long

    There aint nothing that old crone had that would interest me! I cry in sad sympathy for her victims, when people say how awesome she was!

  • Barry Duke

    I almost gave a friend heart failure by forwarding him this post. When he was in his teens he visited India and got to meet the Albanian prune, who signed a leaflet and pressed it into his hand. He’s tearing his house apart trying to find the thing and put it on eBay.

  • barriejohn

    Barry: Tell him not to fret – I have an almost unlimited supply. This guy is my cousin’s ex, and can supply them to order at very reasonable cost!

  • barriejohn

    Henry: I’m hoping that Barry wasn’t going to use the following story.
    As you say: sheer desperation.

  • barriejohn

    Mother Teresa Sari: Merits a sore heart

  • RussellW

    What a nice little earner. I can confidently predict that there will soon be a least 500,000 personal notes from the old charlatan and a million saris for sale on eBay, all genuine of course.

  • Barry Duke

    Oh my! While I was on eBay I noticed that someone was selling “magic” Mormon underwear:

  • barriejohn

    Barry: If those Mormon missionaries come knocking at our door again, I won’t be lying when I express my fervent desire to learn more about their special undergarments!

  • Robster

    Remember years ago, there were these like weekly magazines on sale with models and littler bits to keep? Why don’t the money focussed religious “authorities” do the same today? They could organise little plastic foreskins, dead Jesus toys, Mo Teresa replica scarves and written warblings and so forth. With each pvc bit a full colour magazine penned by an auspicious and yet to be jailed cardinal, pope, bishop or some other clergy type, explaining the undesirable truth of the nasty old Mo and her crook cronies? There’s dollars to gain!

  • barriejohn

    Robster: What a great idea! When I were a lad, cornflakes boxes had large cut-out masks on the back that little boys could wear to scare the living daylights out of elderly grannies with whom they might have been living (am I giving too much away?). How about scary masks of Mother Teatowel, or the late Ian R K “All mouth and trousers” Paisley, similar to the Pope Benedict one featured here:
    I’m off to patent “my” idea!

  • tonye

    Despite the millions she raised during her lifetime for her church, and not for the poor, I’m sure she will continue to be a money spinner.

  • Stuart H.

    How can you trademark a hospital dishcloth?