From the moment we started publishing free information to help begineers in the hobby, businesses have figured out ways to make a profit by misappropriating our "intellectual property . . . "
The "web guru's" unethical (and unjustifiably rude) behavior should have cost him his job. Instead, after one telephone conversation, the comany is lining up legal resources to cover for the guy. If nothing else, this tells me everything I need to know about dealing with that company ever again.
Avoid Imitations: There is Only One Garden Train StoreTM
I guess the "good news" is that FamilyGardenTrains.com and our affiliate sites, such as "Garden-Train-Store.com" are still the most imitated Garden Railroading sites on the 'net.
I have many friends in the Garden Railroad hobby and quite a few of them work for manufacturers and stores. Still, it would be a mistake to think that everyone in the business was "one big happy family." From the moment we started publishing free information to help begineers in the hobby, businesses have figured out ways to make a profit by misappropriating our "intellectual property," including trademarks, text, article outlines, look-and-feel, and so on. We've always started by contacting people privately, but sometimes we've had to publicly embarrass people to get them to stop stealing our stuff. In every case they say something like, "If you had a problem with this, why didn't you come to me privately?" Right.
Here's another example, just in case you're interested in this sort of thing. Six weeks after one of our sites began trading under the name "Garden Train Store," a large hobby store chain registered the domain name gardentrainstore.com. Subsequently they are allowing Network Solutions, their registration company, to use that name (which includes our trademark) for profit, in violation of federal law. But the store has something like 200X my budget, there's really not much I can do but gripe and warn our readers that the REAL Garden Train StoreTM is still in business.
Here's the timeline:
How wierd is this? The "web guru's" unethical (and unjustifiably rude) behavior should have cost him his job. Instead, after one telephone conversation, the comany is lining up legal resources to cover for the guy. If nothing else, this tells me everything I need to know about dealing with that company ever again.
You may be wondering why I spell out the name "Network Solutions" but not the name of the hobby store chain. Well, Network Solutions' own name appears under on the page that is currently violating my trademark most directly (gardentrainstore.com), so that's a no-brainer. But the hobby shop, which has something like 2000 times my resources has already called in a legal team because I made one phone call to the person responsible for this mess; what do you think they would do to me if I spelled out their name here?
Race's Second Law Rises AgainOnce again, I am reminded of my "Second Law:"*
In other words, if my ideas, brand names, article content and so on weren't better than what any of these folks can come up with, they wouldn't be stealing them right, left, forwards, and backwards. I just wish we could avoid all of the "kicking and screaming" when they get caught.
In the meantime, please remember that "www.garden-train-store.com" (hyphens) is the "buyer's guide" page maintained by Family Garden TrainsTM, and that "www.gardentrainstore.com" is a "parked" domain name being used illegally to generate income for a company whose behavior in this matter still astonishes me.
Back to trains. We will have some GREAT announcements this year, as we're expanding in several directions due to new interests in various parts of the hobbies. And if there's something related to garden railroading or big trains that we haven't dealt with that is important to you, please, contact us and we'll try to get it in the queue if it isn't there already.
* My "First Law" is that there is no such thing as a twenty-minute home repair, but that's another story.
Note: Family Garden TrainsTM, Garden Train StoreTM, Big Christmas TrainsTM, BIG Indoor TrainsTM, and BIG Train StoreTM are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications (www.btcomm.com). 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 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically
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