Kolkata, India, Jul 11, 2017 / 05:04 am
The Missionaries of Charity have patented the white and blue sari designed by Saint Teresa of Calcutta, obtaining a legal copyright recognizing the pattern as the intellectual property of the order.
Although it was never officially announced, the copyright had been granted the same day as Mother Teresa's Sept. 4, 2016 canonization as the culmination of a three year legal process.
According to the Press Trust of India, intellectual property attorney Biswajit Sarkar said that “the blue-designed border on the sari worn by nuns of Missionaries of Charity was recognized as Intellectual Property for the organization on September four, 2016, the day the Mother was canonized.”
“The Missionaries of Charity does not believe in publicity and as such it was not publicized,” he said, while stressing that “we are witnessing unscrupulous and unfair usage of the design across the globe” and so are trying “to spread awareness among people about the trademark.”
The sari, which is the habit of the Missionaries of Charity sisters, was designed by Mother Teresa when she went to the streets in 1948 to serve the poor. It is white with three blue stripes, the outer stripe being larger than the inner two.
Mother Teresa's blue border pattern “is a distinctive symbolic identity of (the) Missionaries of Charity under the concept of color trade mark protection,” Sarkar said.
The sisters sent their application to the Trade Marks Registry of the Indian government in December 2013, and after a three-year “stringent test of legal proceedings” the copyright registration was granted to coincide with the same day as Mother Teresa's canonization, despite the fact that it was a Sunday.
According to Sarkar, the copyright of the pattern of the saris worn by the Missionaries of Charity is unique, and marks the first time a uniform has been protected under intellectual property rights.