Trademarking… a Movement?

This has been a dramatic week in the urban homesteading world. Jules Devraes, founder of Path to Freedom, a formerly inspiring urban homestead in Pasadena, CA has made an attempt to trademark the terms “Urban Homesteading” and “Urban Homestead.” Ruby received a letter asking us to stop using the words in the url for this website; they also requested that she change the name of her Institute. A short stint of research revealed that other “urban homesteaders” and people who were using the terms were also being targeted by the Devraes. Then Facebook shut down all of our Facebook pages. Facebook being what it is, it didn’t take long for someone to start a “Take Back Urban Homesteading” page (check it out yourself, and join!), as well as a growing coalition of people who are aligning themselves to fight against the validity of the trademark itself. In less than 24 hours, over 1,300 people have joined this FB page. We are still waiting for our FB page to be reinstated.

here’s a link for the web notices about this bizarre drama

We think it’s crazy and sad that someone is trying to trademark a cultural movement. While Mr. Devraes–who has a history of fighting over intellectual property rights–asserts that he is just trying to maintain his work in the face of the “green-washing done by corporate culutre”, we would suggest that there is a great difference between a corporate take-over of the term, and the work we are doing on our humble homesteads, at the Institute, and with this book.

As Audre Lorde so wisely said, “The master’s tools can never dismantle the master’s house.” If this is a path to freedom, I think I’ll walk another way.

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  1. [...] before the trademark was even granted, and to Facebook, which instantly pulled down at least four pages, without regard for the validity of the claim. Here’s a tip to the Dervaes family, trying to [...]

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