The Ma and Pa Kettle of the legal world?
The Ma and Pa Kettle of the legal world?

Petition Filed with US Patent Office to Cancel "Urban Homestead" Trademark Held by Dingbat Dervaes Family

Remember that humongous controversy earlier this year when a weirdo Pasadena family not only successfully got a trademark for the term "urban homesteading" (used in American English for decades), but began sending threatening legal letters to entities who used the term? It created a massive backlash that actually emboldened urban homesteaders to use the term and to forge bonds that never before had existed. Compost that, Dervaes family!

But beyond community organizing, others also pursued legal means to try and make the US Patent and Trademark office to drop the Dervaes' scheme. And the latest legal grenade dropped this Monday, when Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen (authors of the fine book to your right), along with their publisher, Process Media (partly run by Adam Parfrey of Feral House fame), filed a petition with the Patent and Trademark office's Trial and Appeal Board to have the urban homestead trademark canceled.

Represented in part by the bad-ass Electronic Freedom Foundation, the plaintiffs--though obviously having a vested interest in the issue since the Dervaes' forced Facebook to take down their page for using "urban homestead"--make it clear that they're fighting this fight for all urban homeasteaders, noting "many urban homesteaders supplement their income with income from the urban homestead itself, by writing or teaching about their lifestyle, selling produce, and/or selling other related products." Having a trademark on such a generic term, writes the plaintiffs' lawyers, "prevent others from accurately describing and educating others about urban homeasteading and creating an urban homestead."

Congrats to Parfrey, Coyne and Knutzen for taking on the Dervaes', and to ALL urban homesteaders who have continued to use the term to describe their beautiful movement. Stay tuned for the latest developments...


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