“Urban Homesteading” – Should one be able to trademark an activity?
Food Chain Radio Show looks at the subject
Interview with: K. Ruby Blume, Director of the Institute of Urban Homesteading, and Patrick Reilly, Intellectual Property Attorney
A Property Impropriety?
By Michael Olson
Food Chain Radio Show #721
March 26, 2011
City folk have been “urban homesteading” since the early 1980s. But then the Dervaes family trademarked the term, and now no one else may play. This leads us to ask… Should one be able to trademark an activity?
Topics include a look into the activity of urban homesteading; how this activity came to be the intellectual property of a family in Pasadena; and whether this ownership is, or is not, a property impropriety.
Given the chaos and uncertainty of the modern food chain, taking care to feed ones self and family is becoming an ever more popular activity.
Few have been more active in championing urban homesteading than the Dervaese family of Pasadena, California, who have turned their suburban home and grounds into The Path to Freedom Urban Homestead, where they generate income by giving tours, filming, and selling their organic produce.
Many others around the nation have also become urban homesteaders, and some, like K. Ruby Blume, have started their own urban homesteading enterprises, like Ruby’s Institute of Urban Homesteading in Oakland, California. All was well in the world of urban homesteading, but then…
The Dervaese family trademarked urban homesteading, and went on the attack with cease and desist letters to authors, bloggers, libraries, and website owners who use, carry, display or think of the words urban homesteading.
The Dervaese family’s assault on the urban homesteading community has been met with a counteroffensive of Facebook groups and Twitter missives asking the family to, well, take a hike.
This internecine warfare leads us to ask…
Should one be able to trademark a popular activity?