Highcross Leicester Highcross Quarter naming controversy & domain name disputes.

Highcross Leicester - Highcross Quarter - The Naming Controversy & Domain Name Dispute.

Highcross Leicester - The Name Evolution Theory

The renaming of the Highcross Leicester. Naming Evolution Theory

Sept 2006 - "Renaming the Highcross Quarter to something else is quite definitely not an option" [Mark Prescod Hammerson Marketing Director ] [Now Ex Marketing Director]


"Our clients (the Ladies of the Wiccan group) really are not inclined to use another name or domain name, therefore is it not possible Mr Prescod that Hammerson Plc might choose another name for the Shires redevelopment other than Highcross Quarter?"

That was the question that senior partners at IT Consultants and Web designers, Webwordwizards.com asked him during a conference call that formed part of the initial contacts about the domain name when Hammerson Plc first approached us in pursuit of the highcrossquarter domain names in September 2006.

We put a further question to Mark Prescod the Hammerson Marketing director enquiring if Hammerson renaming the Highcross Quarter really was out of the question or if rather, as he clearly put it was "not an option" "Hammerson ought not consider and explore the option of simply using the hyphenated versions (highcross-quarter.com and .co.uk)" that they purchased on our previous advice when Hammerson first contacted Webwordwizards.com and delicately intimated their predicament to us on July 20th 2006.

Again Leicester's Shires (GP) Ltd Marketing chief replied that for Hammerson Plc the Shires parent company, using the hyphenated versions of the internet domain names alone was "also not an option" and that Hammerson Plc really wanted our clients to consider using an alternative name.

Quick!.... Help!.... Get me our PR people...

Richard Brown, Senior Development Executive at Hammerson Plc was interviewed by the Leicester Mercury and refusing to answer repeated questions as to whether or not our refusal to sell Hammerson the domain names had forced Hammerson to rename the development from Highcross Quarter to Highcross Leicester.

Jenny Cornish and Paul Conroy of the Leicester Mercury reported... "Mr Brown said: "I'm not responding to those questions until I've consulted my PR people further.""

The Leicester Mercury then reported him quoting from a prepared statement "Initially, Highcross Quarter was used to describe the development to potential new retailers and to our city centre partners in recognition of the wider city regeneration."It has now evolved to Highcross Leicester, which we believe will give it a stronger identity for customers and raise the profile not only of the development but also the city."

Exploding the Evolution Theory

Highcross Leicester Multiplex cinema

Seriously now, any inference that the evolution to the name Highcross Leicester being part of the original July 2006 Highcross Quarter naming plan is at odds with all the evidence. The name did not simply evolve by itself of its own accord like an amoeba in some primordial soup.

In the light of one "naming controversy" surrounding the Highcross Quarter choice of name already, a conscious and considered decision would have been needed to be taken by Hammerson executives of the utmost seniority in all likelihood in full consultation with senior executives at stakeholder tenants like John Lewis and Next to change the name from Highcross Quarter to Highcross Leicester.

The Hammerson PR Department's wordsmithed "Highcross Quarter was used to describe the development to potential new retailers and to our city centre partners" July 23rd 2007 statement that implies the Highcross Quarter name was a mere temporary device to bring on board the retail tenants and swoon peer leicester regeneration partners relies heavily on high level amnesia or lack of knowledge on the part of the population of the East Midlands of the original July 14th 2006 name announcement press statements by Hammerson.

Do you have any comments on this section? If so Webwordwizards.com would very much like to hear from you... please drop us a line to janehart@webwordwizards.com

The Evidence: The Original July 14th 2006 Press Statement.

Hammerson Plc on July 12th 2006 announced that the name of the massive new development encompassing the existing "Shires" when it re-opens in Sept 2008 is going to have the new name "Highcross Quarter"

"It believes the name Highcross Quarter will help lure thousands more shoppers to Leicester and catapult the city in to the UK's top 10 shopping and leisure destinations. The old Shires and the new development will be re branded as Highcross Quarter from 2008."

No lack of clarity here as to Hammerson Plc grand long term plan and intention for the name Highcross Quarter. They state quite clearly that the Highcross Quarter will be the name from 2008 onwards. No mention at all of Highcross Leicester.

In that original July 14th 2006 Statement, Mark Prescod Marketing Director at Hammerson (no longer with the company) said that the name "Highcross Quarter" was the product of "nine to 12 months of research" adding that "we believe the new name ties in with what we want the development to represent"

Of this research Hammerson further added that :

"The name was chosen to symbolise the city's heritage, its future image and the location of Highcross Street, which runs across one end of the development. Hammerson recently tested five possible names on 406 shoppers in the High Street and The Shires.

The other names in the running were The Forum, Soar Central, West Central and the 'placebo' name' Arndale. (Note: Again, no mention at all of Highcross Leicester)

About 88 per cent of respondents said Highcross Quarter was quite good or very good."

Hammerson also stated that "Highcross Quarter was chosen from more than 200 possibilities which were whittled down to a shortlist of four."

So all in all there it all is... as clear as day and leaving us all in no doubt from the original statements from Hammerson Plc themselves that Highcross Quarter was certainly the name it intended to go forward with from September 2008 onwards once it had opened its doors.

The Evidence: Trade Marking.

Hammerson invested a lot of effort, no doubt spent a great deal of money and over a year trade marking the words "Highcross Quarter" and "High Cross Quarter".

They filed for this trade mark protection with the UK Intellectual Property Office on the 12th July 2006 in at least 17 classes for everything from key rings and car valeting to restaurants and beauty care. (beauty care... hardly an option you would cover with your trade mark if you were intending to evolve the name to something else before the doors were opened... but perhaps it was for sun block and hand cream for the men in the yellow hard hats on the construction site).

Protecting, what they no doubt believed was their exclusive rights for the name up to the hilt for years of fair and square brand building and brand exploitation. Safe in the knowledge that no one else would be likely to trespass upon that such an obscure name least of all some local pensioners who are into alternative faith.

Waiting though, like a rake in the grass, was the fact that on July 14th 2006 leicester based Webwordwizards.com acting upon instructions of such a wiccan group had quickly and strategically registered the top level highcrossquarter.com and the lower level but useful highcrossquarter.co.uk internet names.

Then, leap forward a year to July 2007... past some rejected approaches from Hammerson, some negotiations and offers for the names in July - Sept 2006, and after the development renaming to Highcross Leicester in July 2007 (perhaps in the face of an adverse ruling with the UN WIPO case in progress in Geneva) we then see some new documents from Hammerson Plc appear at the UK Intellectual Property Office on the 14th September 2007 [See here]. With a further mark application also being filed on the 19th. [See here].

We feel this filing several days after the UN WIPO ruled against Hammerson Plc and in favour of the ownership of the highcrossquarter.com domain name by Webwordwizards.com Leicester based website designers and IT Consultants to the ladies of the Wiccan group who commissioned the Highcrossquarter.com website is significant.

It perhaps points to the fact that Hammerson expected to win and perhaps "evolve" the name back to Highcross Quarter (after all "About 88 per cent of respondents said Highcross Quarter was quite good or very good").

In the words of one QC involved in the case at the UN WIPO IN Geneva, "Hammerson had every reason to believe their complaint [to have the name transferred to them] would succeed" [Jonathan Turner QC].

And then there was also the Leicester regeneration master plan that would be upset and thrown off balance.

Do you have any comments on this section? If so Webwordwizards.com would very much like to hear from you... please drop us a line to janehart@webwordwizards.com

The Evidence: The Logo:

To many this is one of the most tell tale signs of the original intention to use the word quarter to identify and symbolise Leicester's £350 million regeneration centre piece development.

It was so right for the name Highcross Quarter that without the word Quarter now in the name, the relevance of the logo seems almost meaningless and alien to the rebranded identity.

But nevertheless there it is.. etched on the glass to the new car park, all over the website, on the recruitment and information packs... above and beside the entrances... it is everywhere. And it symbolise's "quarter".

So if the name really did "evolve", then the extant logo must be the fossil record. The fossil record that tells the story of a sudden and calamitous dying off of one thing before the surprising arrival on the scene of another.

The word "Quarter" left behind its logo like a petrified foot print in the bedrock, the remnant of the initial brand concept struggling to justify its existence and relevance within the new "Leicester".

Surely, this missing link between the new identity concept and the old that shows not evidence of a gradual evolution but sudden and outright name change.. that occurred so hard and fast that the logo got left behind in what was not so much evolution but more akin to a revolution.

The Evidence: The Regeneration Master Plan: A City of Thematic Quarters.

What is the regeneration master plan of which the Highcross Quarter as it was was set to be the principle part... the jewel in Leicester regeneration crown?

The Cultural Quarter home of the landmark £60 Million pound Curve Performing arts centre, an Island of gleaming clean in a sea of rundown squalor., An area of Leicester that is only rivaled for squalor, graffiti and litter by St Peters neighbourhood a short distance away.

The Riverside Quarter home of massive residential redevelopment including the forthcoming Westbridge towers... the first super skyscrapers for the East Midlands. Set to raise the profile of leicester as a place to migrate a business to from the premium priced square feet of London.

The St Georges Quarter with the much lambasted renovation of St Georges Tower... that took the 24 floor monolith of bleak grey mediocre and converted it into what many believe to be a tower of unassailable iconic ugliness on the city skyline in full square view of the railway station so that it is the first thing and last thing seen by visitors to the city.

On the up and coming multi-purposed Colton Street, In the shadow of this monument to architecture gone wrong is an example of renovation getting it very right indeed. The superbly designed Colton Square buildings that took part of the old Charles Street police station and are creating something like the Highcross Leicester that this city can be proud of. . What a contrast!

And last but not least the Highcross Leicester... retail and dining out lifestyle upgrade for the East Midlands bringing in more cash registers than you could shake a stick at with names like John Lewis and Hugo Boss along with a multiplex cinema and trendy inner city living to boot.

Providing not only an aspirational retail boost to the people of the city of Leicester but also thousands of valuable jobs that we are sure will have a wider effect throughout the economy of the city.

Jobs and city economy to one side though as important as they are, now however Leicester has 3 quarters and a Leicester albeit with a logo that still embodies "Quarter".

Do you have any comments on this section? If so Webwordwizards.com would very much like to hear from you... please drop us a line to janehart@webwordwizards.com

The Evidence: Hammerson's own Domain Name Dispute Complaint Submission

Copy to follow... watch this space...

Do you have any comments on this section? If so Webwordwizards.com would very much like to hear from you... please drop us a line to janehart@webwordwizards.com



highcross leicester highcross quarter name battle - morrigans quote

So went the quote of a certain elderly Leicestershire pensioner. Within hours of the endearing and feisty Mrs Wisecraft penning those now famous words, the worlds media from New Zealand and Canada to Ireland and Turkey were running the story of what was to become the highest profile domain name dispute case of all time.

This website is about that "naming controversy" and domain name dispute involving the Highcross Leicester along with its impacts and implications including as many believe on the renaming of the £350 Million Highcross Quarter to Highcross Leicester.

The Highcross Quarter became the High cross Leicester




For the team at IT Consultants and Web site designers Webwordwizards.com the task of defending the case was an onerous one involving complex intellectual property issues pertaining to both UK and international law that we don't mind saying is not exactly where our expertise lay. At least not at that time it wasn't.

Highcross Leicester - Highcross Quarter - The Naming Controversy & Domain Name Dispute.

Webwordwizards day to day business is normally that of providing IT Consultancy and advice, designing and managing websites, networks and computer systems for small and medium sized businesses and organisations here in the East Midlands mainly.

So to find ourselves in the centre of what unknown to us at the time was to become the highest profile domain name dispute case of all time and suddenly be besieged for newspaper, radio and TV interviews to the worldwide media over this domain name dispute really was quite dramatic indeed.

For Mrs Wisecraft the principle wiccan involved it was a little too dramatic and she does not mind us saying that she decided to go away for a quiet spell in the West Country at the time the story broke to avoid the press and media.

Morrigan and some of the other elderly ladies of the coven were convinced all of fleet street along with Richard and Judy were ransacking rural leicestershire for them on a modern day witch hunt.

Welcome | Press

Worldwide Press Coverage...

Reuters and the Press Association picked the story up on the 19th July 2007.

Webwordwizards had worked with our client group to produce a press release which was set up on the high cross quarter websites.

Even as late as December 2007 the ladies of the wiccan group and the dispute were still in the news.

Morrigan Wisecraft was somewhat flattered and taken aback when we explained to her that her group was sharing the same headline as the Northern Rock collapse in the Leicester Mercury.

Witches win but rock is rocked... the ladies and the highcross leicester name dispute still in the headlines in dec 2007

Image: Copyright Northcliffe Newspapers (Leicester Mercury)

Welcome | Drama

Do you have information for this website?

We recognise that although we played a part centre stage in the domain name battle and renaming controversy surrounding the Highcross Leicester, that their exists information and facts pertaining to this whole matter of which we are not aware.

We get information on a daily basis that we can present on this website from well wishers who often wish to remain anonymous.

If you would like to contact us and provide such information that we might consider for this website either about the Highcross Leicester, the name dispute and name change or intellectual property disputes in general please don't hesitate to get in touch.

0116 2166 124

Email: email address

What is a domain name?

A domain name is a unique text identifier which in turn is associated with a particular web based resource.

This is done by linking the text name to a unique number called an IP address which works pretty much like a phone number.

A web resource such as a web page has only one IP address which in turn can be pointed to by unlimited numbers of domain names.

Web addresses are each unique and increasingly in short supply as more and more are taken up (registered) by companies, organisations and individuals.

Most domain names are available on a first come - first served basis.

Many businesses and organisations still do not grasp the importance of considering domain names as often as they should in their day to day operations, functions and planning.

Large organisations are especially culpable in this failing.

The impact this name dispute had on people.

This website is to also explore and set out the impacts that this dispute involving Leicester's Highcross Leicester

  • Its developers
  • The ladies of the wiccan group
  • Webwordwizards.com the IT Consultants for the High Cross Quarter website for the wiccan group
  • This name dispute which spanned some 12 months from start to finish from September 2006 through to October 2007 not only has lessons for small groups but also for large corporations , in fact very hard lessons indeed for large corporations.

    Lessons for other small groups...

    Other small groups can benefit from the lessons learned by ourselves, Morrigan Wisecraft and the other ladies of the wiccan group who stood to lose their domain names to £7.4 billion Hammerson Plc

    Our words of advice as the consultants and web designers upon whose shoulders it fell to defend this case are:

    Log conversations and keep records

    Always keep any emails or hard copy records you may have surrounding the discussions you have with fellow group members as well as your internet consultants.

    Use email rather than phone calls.

    Such records are useful in defending a WIPO arbitrated case.

    Nominet cases appear to ignore the hard evidence and depend more on the "balance of probabilities" which as the improbable occurs frequently in life would rule out quite a lot including floods in England in July and £7.4 Billion developers inadvertently naming a shopping centre after the highpoints on the witchcraft calendar and then taking umbrage when local elderly witches caught wind of this and moved harder and faster to secure the name before them..

    Don't be complacent by delaying to register your names...

    Although this is no guarantee that you will not have issues at a later date, you should acquire your domain names at the earliest opportunity.

    Domain names are in increasingly short supply so if they are available.. get them.

    Once you are clear on name for your web project or venture.. you need to move very hard and fast indeed to acquire the domain names especially if you get wind of the fact that someone else may have an interest in them.

    As Napoleon once said... "if you are going to take vienna... take vienna" That is very much the mentality you need to adopt about domain names.

    Get them all and don't forget the hyphenated names.

    A good internet consultant will always know to advise you to acquire all the top level domains pertaining to your web project. This principally means the .com but also the .info, .org and .net. The lower level but useful country domain the .co.uk should also not be forgotten.

    A common error by inexperienced consultants is to forget to advise you to consider also the hyphenated domain like this one for this site or for example gum-tree.com. So don't forget to acquire the hyphenated versions of your name if your name uses multiple words.

    Plan for the future

    Portable information access is the future so ALWAYS ALWAYS get the .mobi domain and if you can not then choose another name. It is that important.

    Don't be intimidated by Corporate Goliaths who come after your domain names.

    As in our case they may offer ridiculous sums many thousands of times over the actual cost of the names but if you don't want to sell then don't! .

    Get advice from a good IT Consultant with domain name dispute case experience and stand your ground on clear principle. "You got there first fair and square"

    Remember that the onus is on the complainant to have to prove otherwise.

    All being equal (which sometimes as in the lower level highcrossquarter.co.uk case it was not) the decision will be in your favour.