[Updated, Again]: Dervaes Family Trademarks "Urban Homestead" Term: Legal Battle Follows
"This issue has taken up my entire life for the past few days," said Blume. "Urban homesteading is a national movement that's happening in every state. The Dervaes family are part of that movement and have done their part to popularize it. But so have many many others. I disagree with ownership of a common use term that belongs to a popular progressive movement. And as long as our projects are distinguishable, why should we not all get to popularize urban homesteading which is a wonderful lifestyle and could save the world."
Lisa Lucas Talbot, co-leader of Slow Food LA and the Regional Governor for Southern California Slow Food USA, talked about Slow Food International's own trademark stance. "It's true that the 'Slow Food' name accompanied by the snail logo is a registered trademark of Slow Food International," said Talbot. "As the organization has grown worldwide, the phrase "slow food" (in lower case) is often associated with it and its principles. If another organization called itself "Slow Food" there would be the potential for consumer confusion, and I suspect Slow Food International -- or one of its national organizations -- would step in. But if the Santa Monica Public Library wants to host a panel discussion on "slow food versus fast food," I don't see Slow Food raising a cry about trademark infringement."
She adds, "I haven't heard objections to Dervaes' registration of "Path to Freedom," "Homegrown Revolution," or "Little Homestead in the City." In contrast, "urban homestead" and "urban homesteading" have acquired a much broader and more generic meaning, and many people see the registration of these phrases as an attempt to co-opt a movement."
There's a new Take back Urban Homestead-ing(s) page on Facebook, which had been a bit easier to reach than the Dervaes family website (the last several attempts have timed out due to traffic). As of this morning, the new Facebook page was topping well over 800 "likes" and was populated with thoughtful commentary, outright disbelief, anger, and an activist tone that would be expected from a national progressive sustainability movement.
Anger, resentment, and confusion aside, according to recent -- and now deleted -- tweets by Anais, the Dervaes family has received "death threats," over this issue which if true, would actually be more vile than any controversial trademark issues, pending or otherwise. But it's clear that whatever public goodwill the Dervaes family had nurtured along in their quest to tell their own story of sustainable living in the city has pretty much evaporated. In fact, their unapologetic stance and repeated attempts to justify their actions (in part by pointing the finger at other bloggers and magazines) has only fanned the controversy into a fully-fledged old school Internet conflagration.
Facebook's Copyright Policy can be reviewed here.