Urban Homestead, Urban Homesteading: These Terms Belong to All of Us

Our attorneys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the law firm, Winston & Strawn, have filed a petition to cancel the bogus trademark registrations for the terms “Urban Homestead” and “Urban Homesteading.”

You may read the EFF’s press release here, and the actual petition here. It is a thing of beauty. We are very fortunate to have access to the talents of some of the best people in this business.

We hope that this petition will prevail for everybody’s sake. It goes without saying that these trademark registrations are ridiculous and hurtful and an insult to the generosity of spirit which is integral to this movement. We help each other–we don’t hold each other back.

Our lawyers tell us that the petitioning process takes a while, so don’t expect lots of news right off the bat. Just know that the wheels of justice are turning.

(If this is all news to you, read this previous EFF post on the subject. And here’s our own original post.)

Leave a comment


  1. Awesome. Because of this, I have met you and so many other wonderful other people. It has definitely made us stronger, more determined and closer as a community. I’m behind you all the way.

  2. Good for you! I am still flabbergasted that they would try to claim these terms for themselves. It’s just absurd. You have my enthusiastic support and admiration for taking them on. Best of luck!

  3. I had no idea. I just can’t put into words how ridiculous I think this is. I first got into self-sustainablity because of several online forums like this one. The Dervaes family are a bunch of hypocrates. They talk until they are blue in the face about educating people on the “movement” (which, I’m sorry, people have been gardening in cities since forever…I don’t really see it as a “movement”, forgive me), and yet now they are keeping that education from happening. Why not try to own sunshine, or better yet, do like the corporations did and try to take ownership all plants in general? Dumb. Sorry to be so vitriolic. This just disgusts me. People need to stop trying to turn this into a pissing contest and maybe just go weed their garden instead. Okay rant finished. Thanks for keeping me informed!

  4. Finally, maybe soon I won’t have to run everytime I see men in suits walking up my sidewalk to my front stoop. Still have to be wary off is the code man & bunny lovers.

  5. Kelly, Erik – Wow. I’ve been following this with so much concern for the two of you, who are so open and generous – this should NOT be happening! But on the other hand, we all knew it was only a matter of time until they pulled something crazy.
    Thank goodness for EFF, and for all of the sensible, good people who have rallied to your side. Consider me one of them!

  6. did we ever get the story how the TM was approved? did the gov’t office ever officially respond to the charge that they blew their call?

  7. Thanks, everybody!

    @Anon: It’s interesting to read the actual petition our lawyers have filed with the trademark office (link to the pdf is in our post)–it covers some of that history, and gives you insight into the process, and why things happened the way they did.

  8. Ooh, good luck! I first found you through hearing about the “copyright” of the term. I hope it goes smoothly. 🙂

  9. Way to drop an elbow on ’em from the top rope! I think we should call you guys the Peoples’ Champions. ;o)

    The petition is clear and as succinct as it can be. We’ll be patient and wait for news that you’ve prevailed.

  10. @Kelly and Erik,
    I am really happy the repeal is moving forward for you. Thanks for taking the initiative in defense of a concept which is and should remain communal and not proprietary. When I saw your original tweet on this I literally could not sleep until I had written a post about it.

    It has been wonderful watching the community rally around its own defense. And the good which has, and will continue, to come from this has been inspiring. I am grateful for every single person I have met as a result.

  11. I’m glad things are moving forward. I’m so impressed with you guys and EFF for tackling this unpleasant issue.

    On a happier note, as a result of this I’ve met so many people who are willing to share their homesteading knowledge. My garden is bursting at the seams.

  12. Wow, that petition really is a thing of beauty. I must say, I really admire how you and Erik are handling this tricky situation. I think in your shoes (with a penned book that you are no longer able to promote on FB due to TM restrictions), I would be much more emotional. I love how you relay the facts, stay calm and carry on. It really is an inspiration.

  13. Thank you for fighting this fight. I am sure you would much rather be spending this time out in your garden planting seeds, you know, “homesteading”, but I really think that this will work out for you in the long run.

  14. Which reminds me, I have been meaning to contact you folks about your use of the term “squash baby,” which is a trademark of The Squash Baby Institute. We feel your careless use of this term in reference to a vegetable (growing in a parking strip, no less!) is doing irrevocable harm to our business, which involves the improvement of young infants through our patented method of balancing great works of literature on top of them as they slumber. You’ll be hearing from our attorneys at Dewey, Cheatum & Howe.

    (But seriously, nice work, yay for you, and yay for EFF.)

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