They've sent cease and desist letters to the Santa Monica Public Library for hosting a free event on urban homesteading and have forced Facebook to shut down several groups with "urban homesteading" in the title. This is priceless.
They were denied Dec 9, 2008, on several counts, but managed to get it on appeal from the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Comments given to the Bay Citizen, reported by Twilight Greenaway (full article):
On the phone this afternoon Jules Dervaes acknowledged sending the letter to 16 organizations and businesses (including two publishers), and requesting that the Facebook pages be taken down. He did want to clarify that – contrary to some rumors – he has not gone after blogs or individuals. “They're all commercial ventures that rival us,” he said. Because the Dervaeses travel often for workshops and talks, he says, the trademark is applicable outside of their hometown of Los Angeles.
Mr. Dervaes is concerned that his intent has been blown out of proportion by challengers, and says “We didn’t come up the name but we came up with the application.” He says his family spent three years convincing the United States Patent and Trademark Office that their use of the term was unique, and had to appeal several times because it was so similar to “urban home,” a previously trademarked term.
“If someone else would have done it first, all my work of ten years would be in jeopardy,” he adds. “We didn’t mean to bully anyone. These marks are what people do to make sure no one infringes on their ideas – they’re to give people who develop something protection. That’s why people like Apple and Nike do it. We did what other normal people would have done.”
This article probably sums things up best. The Dervae clan clearly want to promote themselves rather than the ideal of urban homesteading.
The inevitable result is donation monies going toward defending a phrase. How useful is that? Who is benefiting?
If you've linked to any of their sites in the past (urbanhomestead.org, dervaesgardens.com, peddlerswagon.com, freedomgardens.org, barnyardsandbackyards.org, and homegrownrevolutionfilm.com), I recommend you take down the links.
Maybe we just hand the P&T Office a dictionary and tell them to have at it and put a trademark on every word and just be done with it.
From an interview given to the Telegraph, a British publication, the goal of their business is to establish a village of 60 families in South America on several hundred acres. Jules Dervae indicated that he was offering for 600 acres at the time the article was written in July '09, and that it was somewhere safe and isolated.
The moment I read that Jones Town was my next thought.
The adult children talk about putting their personal love lives on hold for their fathers' ideals and goals. Why is that necessary?
IMHO this is a cult mentality.