To All Urban Homesteaders of the United States and Around the World


For more information contact:

James Bertini

jamesbertini (Yahoo address)


To Answer Your Questions

Denver, Colorado, November 5, 2015   Today in a pre-trial ruling a federal court in California cancelled the trademark for “urban homesteading” which its owner had used to disable a number of Facebook pages in 2011 by claiming infringement.   This ended a nearly five-year legal struggle by a small farmers’ market in Denver, Colorado named Denver Urban Homesteading to cancel the trademark which began when the farmers lost their Facebook page and contacts with customers in February 2011. 

 The trademark was owned by the Dervaes Institute of Pasadena, CA, self-described in California incorporation papers as a “religious society” and operated by Jules Dervaes and members of his family.  After Facebook pages around the country disappeared on February 14, 2011, the urban homesteading community united in protest against the Dervaes Institute, starting two new Facebook pages and a petition on change.org demanding cancellation of the trademark.  Court filings show that the Dervaes Institute had issued cease and desist letters to book authors, book publishers, farmers’ markets and even a public library.

 In April 2011 Denver Urban Homesteading began legal action at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the trademark.  According to owner James Bertini, the USPTO refused to consider the merits, even though it was obligated to hold a single hearing and cancel the trademark quickly because it was listed on the “supplemental register” rather than on the more common “principal register.”   The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) fared no better.  Bertini said that they commenced legal action at the USPTO to cancel the Dervaes Institute’s trademark for “urban homestead,” as well as for “urban homesteading” but couldn’t get that agency to decide their case, either.

 Then, in 2013 the farmers’ market sued to cancel the trademark in Colorado federal court, but after another delay - this time of one year - the judge refused to consider the case for jurisdictional reasons.  So in December 2014 Denver Urban Homesteading sued in California where a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California canceled the trademark because it is generic.  Generic words and phrases cannot be registered as trademarks.  The case number is 2:14−cv−09216.

             Denver Urban Homesteading was unable to afford a trademark lawyer so owner James Bertini, a retired general practice attorney represented the market himself.  He was motivated to cancel the trademark not only to get back the farmers’ Facebook page but also as a matter of public interest since other Facebook pages had been disabled.  Bertini said that he prevailed over five law firms and nearly a dozen intellectual property litigation attorneys that participated on behalf of the Dervaes Institute in those legal battles.  “No small business should have to go through five years of litigation to cancel a trademark that shouldn’t exist,” Bertini said.  “A small business cannot afford this burden.”  Indeed, according to Bertini, his didn’t, and the farmers’ market was closed this year due to the extensive time required for litigation and travel to California for court-required meetings. 

             Bertini said that his research shows that this is the first time a trademark on the supplemental register was cancelled in a pre-trial order.  However, he still has to go to trial in December to obtain damages.  He needs to find an attorney licensed in California who can be associated with him in order to complete the case.


Check back here later.  More details about the aftermath of this litigation will be posted on this website. 

Click here to go to our Facebook litigation page where you can get updates if you prefer that method.


We thank the public for its support of our legal challenge in the courts to cancel the Dervaes Institute trademark of URBAN HOMESTEADING.

To answer some questions that people have regarding cancellation of the trademark

General Information


Urban Homesteading trademark


Trademark Law


Principal Register or Supplemental Register

What is special about Urban Homesteading trademark?

It was registered in Supplemental Register.

According to 15USC §1094 applications for and registrations on the supplemental register shall not be subject to or receive the advantages of sections 1051(b), 1052(e), 1052(f), 1057(b), 1057(c), 1062(a), 1063 to 1068, inclusive, 1072, 1115 and 1124 of this title.


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Last updated: 11/05/15.