“URBAN HOMESTEADING” TRADEMARK Owned by the Dervaes Family from Pasadena is CANCELLED!

Categories: On The Farm

The Dervaes live on a 10th of an acre property in Pasadena CA, they are proponents of the 'grow your own food revolution', they live a sustainable life, growing 60% of their own food, recycle cooking oil and drive a bio-diesel car, all their appliances are hand held, they give classes on everything homesteading and seem to be a very close knit family.  I admire all this wonderful qualities and we as a family are trying to achieve those same goals.

So when I learned that they had trademarked the "Urban Homestead" and "Urban Homesteading" phrases and that they were suing other families who were using those terms too. I felt sick to my stomach. How can this have happened? In my eyes this made them look like hypocrites, being all about the people and community on one hand, but on the other, they were holding a big hammer to crush anyone who happened to dare to use those two phrases... 

How are you suppose to call what your are doing, if you are in an urban context and are creating a homestead?  Irrational right?

This is the full transcript of the  Article written by Gustavo Arellano for OCWeekly (you can find the link at the bottom of the page for the original post)

"Back in 2011, Gustavo Arellano wrote a series of articles about a battle between advocates of urban farming and the Dervaes family of Pasadena. The Dervaeses have received international attention for turning their home into an farming wonderland, but the family at the time was going after anyone and everyone who was using the terms "urban homestead" and "urban homesteading," which has been widely used since the 1970s but that the Dervaeses had trademarked with the feds. Farmers markets, authors, and jes' plain folks who used "urban homestead" and "urban homesteading" quickly found their Facebook pages taken down due to allegations of copyright infringements, got cease-and-desist letters, and feared more from the Dervaes. 

But yesterday in California federal court, U.S. District Judge John F. Walter gave opponents of the Dervaes a partial victory when he cancelled the trademark for "urban homesteading," saying it was too generic a term to deserve protection.

The complaint was filed in late 2014 by Denver Urban Homesteading, a farmer's market in Denver whose Facebook page was suspended after a infringement complaint filed by the ex-wife of Jules Dervaes, the family patriarch. The long, twisted history of the legal fight is on their page, and you should go read it. Here, let's focus on the judgement.

In the ruling, Judge Walter noted that the Dervaes argument that they deserved a trademark on "urban homesteading" was based on "primarily irrelevant and erroneous arguments" that flew in the face of decades of widespread use by reporters, activists, and farmers. "The Court concludes that Defendants' evidence is entirely insufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact that the term 'urban homesteading' is suggestive," Hizzoner wrote, "especially in light of Plaintiff's evidence that the term was used by others to describe sustainable living, organic foods, gardening, the environment, and conservation as early as 1976 and that Defendants themselves have used the term in the generic sense."

"No small business should have to go through five years of litigation to cancel a trademark that shouldn't exist," said attorney James Bertini, a Denver Urban Homesteading lawyer, in a press release. "A small business cannot afford this burden." He is now going to seek damages, as the farmer's market had to close during the legal fight."

For the Judges Decision find PDF here / source DenverUrbanHomesteading / via OCWeekly

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