3. A Horror Story

Concurrent with my Gorre and Daphetid adventure, I'd launched a new model railroad manufacturing company, NZT Products. I was anxious to build up my product inventory quickly, so I took advantage of the resin castings I'd been doing for the G&D, and launched a new product line that tied into the project.

The items included tunnel portals, bridge abutments, retaining walls, and, as the centerpiece, the stone viaduct. I'd partnered with a west coast business to introduce the line at a convention in California. And that's when things suddenly blew up in my face.

No sooner had my products gone on display when my partner was ordered to remove all Gorre and Daphetid branded items owing to a trademark violation; evidently the NMRA had wrested ownership of the layout name from John Allen's estate (after two prior unsuccessful attempts). However, I spoke with numerous individuals who'd attended the convention, and no one could identify the person that issued the order. Who was responsible?

To this day it remains a mystery, but a number of clues pointed to one person who, for the sake of leaving well enough alone, shall remain nameless. In the meantime, I had to pull all of my merchandise, and while it was an embarrassment for me, it was a nightmare for my west coast partner.

Then, what was I to do about my layout? For a while, I contemplated abandoning it out of disgust. But by this time the layout was well along, and it represented a significant investment of time, energy and capital. So, I elected to rename it the Geordie and Daphne. While this would avoid the trademark conflict, it would also be no mystery to anyone as to what the new name meant.

The "rebranding" effort took almost a month, since it involved several models, such as the one above, as well as the control panel.

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