EFF is representing publisher of Urban Homestead book against Dervaes Institute trademark claim

Breaking news: Corynne McSherry, Intellectual Property Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is now representing the authors and publisher of The Urban Homestead in the Dervaes Institute "Urban Homestead" trademarks dispute. An official announcement is expected on Monday/


  1. Everyone should go out and buy their book now to help their defense fund. Also nice thing the Dervaes’ did by making sure this book got lots of attention… oh wait! they didn’t intend that!

  2. Hold on, just to clarify – are the authors of said book (which I bought on your recommendation and love btw) part of the Dervaes family, or is the Dervaes family threatening to sue them along with all the bloggers who use the trademarked terms?

    It would be a strange turn of events if the EFF represented the Dervaes family in this dispute…

  3. no they are not members of the Dervaes’ family they are separate people who have lived their own lives

  4. “The Urban Homestead” is by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen (great book by the way, and great blog at rootsimple.com). Their book came out a couple years before the phrase was trademarked by the Dervaes family (who have a farm and an institute but I don’t think they have a book).

    …which is one of the aspects I don’t understand. Maybe trademark is way different from copyright, but why do the authors of a book published in 2008 have to defend anything against people who registered that title as a trademark in 2010? Is trademark kind of first-come, first-served, and even people who used it in a major way before that are now unable to continue using it because someone else jumped on the trademark?

  5. Hopefully, the scope of this case will be enlarged to attempt to make the terms “urban homestead” and “urban homesteading” into generic trademarks, or at least cancel the Devraes family trademarks on these terms.

  6. GREAT news! EFF is an awesome organization. It’s good that this will get a proper, legal hearing. Thanks, EFF!

  7. They’re trying to sue an author of a book that came out two years before their idiotic trademark was approved? And then they complain on their twitter that their the victims and they’re not harassing people?

    The Dervaes are just a bunch of morons who just discovered a new toy and just like all my G.I. Joes they’re gonna twist and twist until the torso and legs pop off.

    They seem to be in a situation very similar to a Streisand Effect.
    The more they try and stick a knife in the back of everyone else the further they wedge it into their own.

  8. EFF is NOT representing the trolls (the Dervaes) – they are representing the people getting sued by the trolls.

    You can buy that book to help their defense. But better would be to throw ten bucks towards EFF – that will go more directly to the defense.

  9. “The Urban Homestead” by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen is indeed a great book. Mark posted about it here a year or so ago, iirc.

    I have been meaning to buy another copy of the book, I keep giving them to friends :-)

    It is cases like this that really call into question the utility of trademark registration.

  10. And contributing to the EFF? I’ve been meaning to do that for ages too. Lets see if they take Paypal… :-)

  11. The Dervaes Institute has a bit of a point. I am a bookseller and happened across this book on display yesterday and my first thought was “are these guys associated with that group of jerks suing gardeners.” So, a trademark can help maintain a representation between mark and company, but it is up to the Institute to maintain their reputation and integrity.

    It seems in the case the Dervaes’ have missed the “mark.”

  12. Dervaes dreams to buy lands in Soth America. He wanted royalty from his trademark to be a big landlord and control 60 families. He isn’t satisfied obusing his own family – he wants his power to be expanded. See the article how he keeps his family – they don’t even have rights to have personal life. they can’t even take shower etc.

  13. @carborundum yes, EFF takes donations via PayPal and also, get a copy of Erik and Kelly’s book, it’s a great help for those of us learning to have a ‘urban homestead’ — and fwiw building it in Echo Park (like Kelly and Erik) is far more ‘urban’ than anything in Pasadena.

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