Who wrote all of this crap anyway?
- Nemo Scitis
This is what happens when shit gets unreal
I Am A Time Traveling Thought Zombie, Mining Intellectual Property Before It’s Even Conceived.
No, wait… I mean I Am An Urban Homesteader!!!!
So… have you ever heard of Jules Dervaes? The Dervaes Institute? No? Not exactly a household name, right? Well, maybe not for the average American household, but within the urban homesteading community, he was sort of well known. He and his
weirdo kids adult offspring took a pretty small suburban yard, and, starting around the turn of the millennium, turned it into a sort of mini-farm, complete with chickens, crops and compost. They’ve tried to minimize their electrical usage, through a variety of means. He read a lot of information on urban homesteading, and they established a pretty popular self-aggrandizement rant website. He even participated in a VH1 show, which was trying to humiliate selfish hoebags better Young Americans.
And then he decided that, not only had he accomplished all these admirable things, he had INVENTED them. Yep, he is now the self-styled “Founder of the Urban Homestead Movement”. Last fall, Dervaes and his family, under the name The Dervaes Institute (a non-profit, listed as a church) filed for and received a trademark for the terms ‘urban homestead’ and ‘urban homesteading’. (Please note, I refuse to put the little R in a circle after these terms, or a TM, or whatever the hell they want.) This, despite a not-trifling number of publications which use the term, either in their title or in the meat of the writing. Despite the enormous number of blogs and businesses which use the term. Clearly someone in the US trademark department was
brain dead, asleep at the wheel, certifiably deficient… oh hell, they were brain dead, asleep at the wheel, and certifiably deficient. But this isn’t even the worst part! Last week, the Dervaes family successfully petitioned Facebook to take down every page that didn’t credit the Dervaeses with ownership of the term. (Many of these were business pages, used to communicate with customers. Check out http://www.denverurbanhomesteading.com/ ) Further, they sent a letter to Google, complaining that an Amazon listing, which advertised a book PUBLISHED MORE THAN TWO YEARS PRIOR TO THE TRADEMARK AWARD, was infringing upon their intellectual property, and should be stopped.
I can hear your thoughts: “Hahaha! That’s a funny corporate joke you made there, Elizabeth! Wait… what? You’re SERIOUS?!?”
Again, according to his own published timeline, he didn’t start his urban homestead until around the time of the Y2K scare. While the Dervaes family may have been pioneers in PROMOTING urban homesteading through NEW MEDIA, (they do have a very successful self-promotion website) they are not pioneers in the urban homestead field. In fact, based on their own timeline, they are quite late to the game. In 1975, the mayor of Boston, Kevin White, used the term in his Section 810 Urban Homesteading Proposal. Jules Dervaes himself, in his biography, says he took the first dozen issues of Mother Earth News with him to New Zealand in the mid 70′s, and that publication has been using the term since they began publishing in 1970. In a recent letter the family published, trying to explain their actions, the Dervaes family likens their trademark to Nike and Apple trademarking their names. However, Nike did not trademark “tennis shoe”. THAT is the true equivalent to what the Dervaes family has done. Had they trademarked the name “Dervaes Method of Urban Homesteading”, no one would be upset. (We’d actually get a giggle out of it. It sounds really self-helpy, and not in a good way, but in an infomercial for birth control way.) Instead, they have practiced an arrogant revisionist history, declared Jules Dervaes the “Father of Urban Homesteading” (seriously, read his bio) and pretended that all the books. articles, and how-to treatises that came before, when they were still blissfully ignoring the idea, and eating Taco Bell (again, read their self-authored bio) simply never existed, or somehow plagarized a thought process they hadn’t even come to yet. Patently, TRADEMARKEDLY ridiculous.
I’m an urban homesteader. Many of my friends and acquaintances are urban homesteaders. In fact, I personally was growing food and preserving it, sewing clothing for my children, bartering garden labor for services and making soap, years before he had his epiphany. (An epiphany, seriously, that came on an ingredients list for a Taco Bell Taco. No lie. On a lunch break from picketing the church that kicked him out. I couldn’t make this crap up if I tried.)
So… should a common term be the fodder for trademark? If so, I trademark ‘Mom’. After all, I bring something different to the term. Using the logic followed by Dervaes and his family, I can trademark ‘Mom’ because I have a unique spin on motherhood. I do ‘Mom’ like no one else has ever done ‘Mom’. As a matter of fact, those who filled a maternal role before me were obviously not quite there, know what I mean? They were ALMOST ‘Mom’, but really, were they as good as me? Ugh… that’s exactly how stupid this is.
Jules Dervaes is NOT the father of MY Urban Homestead. His seed ain’t anywhere around here. I refuse to recognize this trademark. And I am an Urban Homesteader.