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Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains

What's In A Name, Part 2: Comes Home

As reported in the blog "What's In a Name", Family Garden Trains(tm) was the first significant online resource to promote the phrase "Garden Trains." We have also been using the name Family Garden Trains(tm) since 1996, using the name on our web site since 1998, and using Family Garden Trains(tm) as the name of our web site since 1999. However, neither a sense of fair play or respect for federal laws have held some back from misusing our trademarks, including:

  • registering the domain name equivalents of our trademarks, including and,
  • burying our trademarks as hidden search terms in their web sites, or
  • creating copycat sites with similar-sounding names and slogans to misdirect people who were looking for our site.

That said, we may be recovering a tiny bit of our "property." The person who registered declined to renew the registration last month. During a "probationary period" in which he or she could still have reclaimed the name, I entered a "backorder" order for the name from To my surprise, a domain name auction site had backordered it first, and they received the order. However, I contacted them directly, explained that anyone besides myself who used that name would be in violation of trademark. With no real hassle, the site abandoned their claim to that domain name, and it reverted to us.

Today, June 27, 2006, I put a "forward" order on the site so that anyone typing in will be directed to the real Family Garden Trains(tm) site. Perhaps if the stars align I'll be able to move the actual site "behind" that name (or vice versa) so I won't need any forwarding, but that's not urgent.

We're not done sorting all of this out, of course. and .org, as well as, are still in the hands of squatters, and the counterfeit sites designed to snag folks looking for Family Garden Trains(tm) or the Garden Train Association(tm) are still online. But it does remove the threat of one of those counterfeit sites setting themselves up under the name and forcing a legal battle that I certainly don't want and can't afford.

Please let me know if you have any feedback, and have a great summer,

See you online,


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Note: Family Garden Trains?, Garden Train Store?, Big Christmas Trains?, BIG Indoor Trains?, and BIG Train Store? are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications ( All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.
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