by Tom McKinley Ball
If the Transcendental Meditation program is taught by a non-profit educational organization, then why is the TM technique trademarked—like McDonald’s or Microsoft?
The registered trademark sign (®) is commonly associated with for-profit corporations who use trademarks to protect their brand names, products or services against infringement by competitors, and thus help insure profits. However, in the case of the Transcendental Meditation technique and other programs founded by Maharishi, there is a different reason for the registered trademark.
The Transcendental Meditation technique is unique. There is no other practice that works in the same way or produces quite the same results. Many scientific research studies conducted at medical schools and independent research institutions worldwide have investigated and compared the effects of Transcendental Meditation technique to various types of meditation practices—such as Zen, Vipassana, mantra meditation, and various relaxation techniques—and no other meditation procedure has been found to produce the wide range of effects for mind, body, behavior and environment that result from TM practice.
The only way to legally distinguish the TM technique from other types of meditation available is to maintain the technique’s registered trademark. This way, when someone learns the Transcendental Meditation technique, they can rest assured they are learning the real thing, because only highly trained and certified TM teachers can teach this technique or legally use the name ‘TM’ or 'Transcendental Meditation.'
Trademarks protect consumers by allowing them to identify ‘the real thing’ as opposed to a facsimile. If meditation techniques were all basically the same and produced the same results, there would be no altruistic reason to trademark or otherwise distinguish the Transcendental Meditation technique. But all practices are not the same and do not produce the same results, as research shows.
The registered trademark is another way of maintaining the effectiveness or 'purity' of the Transcendental Meditation program—helping ensure that even future generations will benefit.