A year after the death of its founder, Todd Bol, the Little Free Library nonprofit literacy organization and Bol’s family are at odds.

The dispute appears to hinge on the matter of trademarks.
Bol, who set up the first book box in front of his mother’s Wisconsin home in 2009, first trademarked the term “Little Free Library” in 2012. This past June, says Tony Bol, Todd’s brother, the organization filed three separate applications for new trademarks which, according to Tony, would allow the organization to “stake trademark claims over all wooden book boxes, book boxes with signs, and book boxes with guest books, allowing for monopolization of the Little Free Library movement as a marketplace.”

The Bol family has submitted a forrmal protest to the U.S. Patent Office objecting to LFL wanting to trademark the words, “wooden boxes with a storage area for books,” when used in connection with “Little Free Library.” The family is asking supporters to join them in filing letters with the U.S. Patent Office in opposition to the proposed trademarks.