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Being a Franchised Center

Osho asked that all His centers remain independent for a good reason. He realized that real consciousness doesn’t arise out of packaged processes. That’s why He spoke scathingly about the idea of registering trademarks for meditation techniques and asked for the centers to remain individual and unique. Nonetheless, if Osho was about anything, He was about freedom. That includes the freedom to make what other people see as mistakes. If you decide to become a franchised center under OIF, Zurich’s control and part of an organized spiritual group, then there are some things you should do to protect yourself.

First, you can see from reading the articles on trademarks and the legal organization of the Osho movement, OIF, Zurich currently has no real trademark licenses or franchise agreements. The downside of this is that OIF, Zurich has a hard time proving it has any legal control over anyone. The upside for OIF, Zurich is that since no specifics have ever been agreed to, OIF, Zurich can claim any kind of control it wants. Currently OIF, Zurich is claiming complete control, including the right to claim all profits. (See What is a Trademark? for quotes from OIF, Zurich.) If you want to be a franchise of OIF, Zurich, then you should negotiate clear terms so that there will be no surprises in the future.

In negotiating terms with OIF, Zurich you should always have a good lawyer in your country, since OIF, Zurich is always represented by counsel who are willing to make questionable claims on OIF, Zurich's behalf (such as the claim to own all of Osho’s work). If you aren’t represented by competent counsel, you won’t stand a chance of getting a fair agreement. Never accept the agreement that OIF, Zurich's lawyers have drafted. This is basic business good sense. Always get your own lawyer to review documents for you.

Your lawyer can tell you what your rights are, the pluses and minuses of entering into a franchise agreement, and the terms you can negotiate. For example, you can define what OIF can control, how OIF, Zurich will exercise control, the amount of money OIF, Zurich can claim as a franchise fee, and how the license can be ended by either party.

If you agree to be a trademark licensee of OIF, Zurich without negotiating clear terms, then you face the possibility that OIF will claim more and more control and money over time. This might be particularly true as the makeup of the OIF board changes, as is inevitable over time.

Value the hard work you’ve done in setting up and operating a center, know that you don’t have to agree to a franchise at all, and then, if you do agree, protect yourself so that you know what to expect in the future.