Why is the Transcendental Meditation technique trademarked?

If the Transcendental Meditation program is taught by a non-profit, educational organization, then why is the TM technique's name trademarked—like Apple computers or Trek bicycles? 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 Transcendental Meditation and other non-profit programs founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the trademark serves a different and much higher purpose.

Uniqueness: Any form of meditation can be beneficial, but the Transcendental Meditation technique is truly unique. There is no other practice that works in the same way or has been found through scientific research to produce the same results. Numerous research studies conducted at medical schools and independent research institutions worldwide have investigated and compared the effects of the TM technique to various types of meditation practices—such as concentration techniques, mindfulness meditation, other mantra practices and various relaxation techniques—and no other approach has been found to consistently produce the wide range of benefits for mind, body, behavior and environment seen to result from TM practice.

Distinguishing the real thing: 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 actual TM technique, because only highly trained and certified TM teachers can teach this practice or (ethically) use the name ‘TM’ or 'Transcendental Meditation.' Otherwise, without the registered trademark, anyone could say that they are teaching the TM technique, and if the person is not a certified TM instructor, the practice they are teaching will be something very different.

Trademarks protect us as consumers by allowing us to identify authenticity and not be misled by facsimiles. 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 meditation practices are not the same and clearly do not produce the same results. 

The registered trademark is another way of maintaining the original effectiveness or 'purity' of the Transcendental Meditation program—helping preserve the authentic technique as taught by Maharishi and ensuring that even future generations will benefit.

• Aren't all forms of meditation transcendental?

Read about the three major categories of meditation techniques: