Monday, February 21, 2011

Can you Trademark a lifestyle?

If you are in any way connected to the gardening or green community, you've assuredly heard of the mess that the Dervaeses have caused.  They decided to trademark Urban Homesteading and multiple other common, everyday phrases.  Their reasoning was that it was to protect the wording from the big, bad agribusiness people.  If that had been their sole action, it wouldn't have been an issue.  What they instead did, was to send letters to bloggers, authors, libraries, coops and Facebook. 

These letters informed people that they now had no legal rights to continue calling themselves Urban Homesteaders.  If they did, they would need to give the Dervaeses full credit for the wording.  This is of course ridiculous.  The end result has been a massive backlash from the community that they count on to support them. 

There is an ever growing community on Facebook, that is bringing people together.  It seems to be the one good thing that has come out of this whole mess.  Everybody is coming together like they never had before. 

Those of us who are Urban Homesteaders tend to be non conformists anyway.  We tend to be the neighbors that get talked about.  We also tend to be the ones who are so passionate about what we do, we can't help telling everyone. 

Since I am that neighbor, I can tell you that it's exciting for people to see what we do in our little yard.  It also seems to spread rather quickly.  More and more neighbors and friends are gardening in their own yards.  They're asking questions about what it is that I do.  It's exciting to see Urban Homesteading grow.   

So, I'm am declaring that I am an Urban Homesteader.  Are you?

15 comments:

Robin said...

This whole thing is absolutely crazy!! Who was the J@!K A$$ that approved this trademark anyway?? I will definitely declare myself an Urban Homesteader. I was also a "Domestic Engineer" or a "Housewive" at one time and a "Professional Working Women"!! Maybe someone should try to trademark "Country Living" or "Urban Living" I could go on and on!!!! It doesn't seem like they are trying to protect anything...just line their pockets...SHAME SHAME

tami said...

Nice post. I've been reading bits here and there about this. It's silly to make a fuss over a phrase, it's flat out stupid to create a legal issue out of it. You're right. I'm sure there will be a backlash.

I myself am not an "Urban Homesteader."

Just call me an "Odd Duck", or is that trademarked too?

Michaela Dunn Leeper said...

If I can't be an Urban Homesteader, I'll call myself an Erban Homesteader :D

Heather, we've been following each other's blogs for quite some time. LONG before this nonsense was thought up. We've been urban homesteading LONG before this. We will continue that path!

Anonymous said...

Good post! What a ridiculous situation (and I imagine PR nightmare for the Dervaes -who do seem to care about such things).

Kristy said...

proud to be an "URBAN HOMESTEADER"

Karen Anne said...

That's not the first time I've seen someone trademark a term in common use. It should never have been granted. Someone with deep pockets for an attorney can get that voided, but well.

Caitlin-Cats Critters said...

That wins as one of the stupidest things of the year. Even if I'm not Urban I still love the term for those who are, unfortunately this is probably all for money.

Building A Better Life said...

On a side note...

"Urban Homesteader" is not trademarked.

"Urban Homestead" and "Urban Homesteading" is.

So... I live on an urban homestead and I practice urban homesteading. How about the rest of you?

Annie's Granny said...

Yep! I hereby declare myself an urban homesteader! I'll be homesteading to my heart's content on my urban homestead. So there, Dervaes family!

kitsapFG said...

Technically, I am more of a Suburban Homesteader than Urban Homesteader. Perhaps I should take out a trademark on that description soon before someone else does?! LOL!

I don't understand how a commonly used phrase or description in the english language is permitted to be trademarked. It's truly perplexing. I have always enjoyed the Dervais but find their need to make money in their adventures distracting - almost non congruent with their chosen lifestyle. I understand it is necessary as they must live too - but this is another example where it has just gone too far.

Chard Lady said...

Thanks! Your photos are gorgeous!!!

The Mom said...

Thanks everyone. It is such an absurd thing that they have done. I have to wonder if they really get why everyone is so upset. Sad.

Robin said...

The best part of all this hullaballoo for me is that I have found wonderful blogs like yours!

meemsnyc said...

We are "that" neighbor too, that everyone talks about. I love spreading the word about homesteading. It's a shame what that family is doing with their trademark. A real shame! It's so wonderful how the whole gardening community came together.Keep doing whatcha doing is what I say!

Wendy said...

I've always considered myself a "sub"Urban homesteader - mostly because I don't live in a city, and therefore not "urban."

That said, the whole situation is just ridiculous, and the unfortunate part is that they have now alienated a very large portion of their readership. News travels fast on the Internet ;).