Help N4MN Protect Our Name

the short of it

Neighbors for More Neighbors is a licensed trademark of 2320 Colfax LLC, an entity set up to handle licensing of our identity to other interested groups in other states. We have a process licensing the name, and we are now defending our trademark as a careless group is using our name and is unwilling to stop. This is wasting our time and money, and a distraction from advocating for more homes.

Why an LLC for the name? N4MN was originally founded around art and memes that made waves in the housing advocacy world, but the cofounders quickly shifted to advocacy, and the group gained many volunteers and eventually a non-profit sponsor. The group that grew up around N4MN has a core value of honoring and recognizing people's work. We decided it was important that the two artists who came up with the name would retain ownership of that name, and those artists thought the work was important enough to share it.

who we are

Neighbors for More Neighbors, a.k.a. N4MN, a.k.a. More Neighbors, strives to tell the story of how exclusionary land use regulation creates an artificial shortage of places to live, pushing people and especially the most vulnerable people out of their homes. N4MN works to change the rigged rules of the game. We also elevate and show up for tenants’ rights, investing in affordable housing, and proactive strategies to address gentrification. Until we address all four issues, we fail to achieve racial and housing justice.

Neighbors for More Neighbors is a strong supporter of abundant homes, with some local victories that generated national attention. Part of the way More Neighbors has accomplished this is by honing the messaging, showing up for a broader range of housing policy goals, and building alliances. We have changed the local conversation on housing.

We built a new kind of advocacy in a field that, at the time, was largely driven by divisive San Francisco politics that weren’t even working in SF, and most certainly weren’t going to work in Minneapolis. We strongly resisted incorporating those elements into our work.

We have made our branding available for many to use via a licensing process. This assists local groups that don’t want to start from scratch if they commit to messaging and organizing that matches our values. We reserve the right to say no, and we are protective of our identity because of the delicate nature of housing advocacy.

We do not want our name and work tarnished by groups with a history of work contrary to our values.

the problem

Recently, we became aware of an organization based in SF that has been using our trademarked name without authorization, in one case directing volunteers in another city to work under our name. It is unclear why they avoid using their own name, or why they want a claim to ours. We reached out to each org to raise the issue, and some of them were quick to respond and make amends not wanting to infringe. This has not been the case in every instance, and we raised the issue with the folks directing them to do so.

The SF-based org has known of us for a long time because they are aware of our wins and the national conversation we began with memes. They had every opportunity to know we are a non-profit organization that formed to do advocacy work. Given the lawyers they employ, they also have had every opportunity to know what they were doing by using the name More Neighbors without licensure, and chose to do it anyway.

They are not acting in good faith. Regrettably, one of their leaders told us we were not being “neighborly” for raising the issue and wasting the time of local advocates. It feels very much like someone is instead wasting our time and blaming us for it when they could simply not direct volunteer leaders of chapters in other cities to register their organization with our name. We do not see eye to eye on a number of issues, and we aim to protect the name we have built for ourselves.

The official processes to uphold our ownership of our brand have been expensive, requiring paying for lawyers and time. We are asking for your support to protect ourselves. If you can’t support us, at the very minimum, you should know what’s been going on.

We are raising $6,500 to pay for lawyers and formal filing fees that strengthen the protections of our name. The intransigent response to our requests to respect the trademark suggests that we’ll need ongoing legal support.

  • Mark Snyder 
    • $50 
    • 19 hrs
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 1 d
  • Zack Farrell 
    • $50 
    • 12 d
  • Mathias Mortenson 
    • $100 
    • 18 d
  • Leah Drury 
    • $50 
    • 20 d
See all

Organizer

Ryan Johnson 
Organizer
Minneapolis, MN

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