Highcross Leicester Highcross Quarter naming controversy & domain name disputes.

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

United Nations WIPO backs ladies of the wiccan group

UN backs witches in row with shires developers

Why did the UN back the witches? Basically because they had a right to use the name highcrossquarter.com, also because they had made fair use of it in a way that was clearly unconnected with Hammerson's Leicester city centre regeneration centre piece.

And last but not least... because we were able to prove to the UN, as groundless, Hammerson Plc's core assertion that Webwordwizards.com's ownership of the name being for monetary gain from them or their competitors.

Hammerson's complaint painted a picture that a whole website on Wicca that we created for our clients the wiccan group... was a sham.

The UN WIPO simply did not accept that.

Our only disappointment with the UN was their failure to admonish and reprimand Hammerson Plc for what we believed was reverse domain name hijacking.

The UN judgment stated that Hammerson Plc had every reason to believe their complaint would succeed.

We believe they merely had little reason to believe their case would not until our evidence was made clear to them during the case at which point they must have wished to god that they had never started off down this road.

We could have course have put all our cards on the table straight off, but it was our belief to not reveal our hand until after they had initiated legal action against us which we were convinced they would as soon as we declined their offers.

Was highcrossquarter.com a sham

No... on the whole it was not. Not entirely anyway.

But admittedly initiatially, the tone of it was. This was because at the outset, as soon as Hammerson approached Webwordwizards, the legal owner and legal registrant for the domain names, it became clear to us that a storm was gathering and a legal battle for the internet names would ensue as sure as night followed day whether we liked it or not.

Big companies are not used to hearing the word "No" and believe that everything and everyone has their price.

Webwordwizards after some thought and consideration of the nature of the problem at hand devised a strategy drawn from nature.

This strategy involved the 'darkening' of the implied meaning of the name. To alter its appearance and to make the highcrossquarter.com domain name unappetizing to use as the name for a regeneration centre piece shopping centre, with restaurants and slick inner city luxury apartments to boot.

Webwordwizards very carefully explained to Morrigan Wisecraft and the other wiccan group members that it was essential to make the highcrossquaarter.com web site look almost Satanic and evil and to conjure up an impression that the name is quite definitely not something that John Lewis, Next, Wagamama, Ghost, cruise and Cinema Delux quite definitely would want to be associated with even if Hammerson did.

We essentially wanted to create such an awful impression around the highcrossquarter.com name that this big bad evil predator as we saw them would drop it and use something else. Most people after all did not know precisly what witches were into and quite mistakenly beleived they were into dark deeds brought about through black magic and alliances with devils and demons.

Morrigan was against the idea and so to were many of the other witches of the Leicestershire based wiccan group. To wiccans, satanism is actually, something totally unpalatable and opposite as indeed satanism is to christianity.

In addition to this, Hammerson's Marketing director Mark Prescod had told us that using another name was definitley "not an option". They would not change the name. They were going to use Highcross Quarter and they wanted the domain name to go with it.

He had gone live in the national press and broadcast media in June 2006 announcing the name Highcross Quarter for the develoment when its doors opened in September 2008.

After a number of meetings with the ladies of the wiccan group, Webwordwizards finally convinced more or less everyone that it was vital to "satanise" the name and website in order to get Hammerson to go away and use another name..


"This is all very complicated... just how much of this did the ladies of the wiccan group actually understand?" [Emailed Question]

Morrigan Wisecraft and the other ladies and gentlemen, although for the most part quite senior in years understand quite a lot.

At first they couldn't get their minds round how they could have registered the highcrossquarter domain names first... fair and square and then be in a position where they might lose them to a large corporation who wanted to use it for what is now the Highcross Leicester

We explained to Mrs Wisecraft and the wiccan group that Hammerson Plc had registered the trade mark "Highcross Quarter" for use as the name for their new development and that this carried quite a lot of weight.

But we were able to show the ladies how in reality Morrigan's title to the names was quite unassailable as Hammerson Plc had unknown to themselves and Mark Prescod the Hammerson Marketing Director (subsequently ex marketing director) trade marked a generic name which had an established use in Wicca as highpoints of the Witch craft calendar.

Mrs Wisecraft though, to this day cannot fathom how on earth Hammerson Plc with all their experts and status made such a "colossal cock up" to name it Highcross Quarter.

The later decision by Nominet to find in favour of Hammerson on the lower level and less important highcrossquarter.co.uk domain is something Morrigan and the ladies also can't get their heads round as the UN WIPO had already found in our favour on the more important top level .com domain.

We tried our best to explain it, but then neither can we even as their IT Consultants even understand it.

Words fail us on it as it defies all logic of the Alice in Wonderland judgment that sprang forth from nominet..

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Did Morrigan really dance round her garden on hearing the news of her Victory?


Yes she did. On the 6th September 2007 we had been awaiting news from the UN WIPO in Geneva for many weeks. We had been wondering what was taking so long. So was morrigan who would contact us twice daily or more for news.

At about 6pm on the evening of the 6th we received an email from UN WIPO that looked like it was what we had been waiting for all this time. It was, it contained 2 or 3 attached word documents one of which was the extensive judgment.

This was read during a conference call between senior Webwordwizards Partners in Leicester and London. The news was as we expected. Victory.

We had won and had done so convincingly on all the main points of contention. The question was now... how to we break the news to Morrigan who had been asking to hear the news the moment it arrived no matter what time it was.

Due to her age, we decided to go over to her home outside of Leicester where we found her in her garden in the late summer sun with her grandchildren keeping her company.

Catching sight of the bottle of Champagne we put on the garden table she knew immediately the news was as expected. 5 minutes later we were still trying to calm her down and stop her skipping and dancing around her garden with her grand children struggling to keep up.

Over the months of the battle we had repeatedly warned her it was quite possible to lose the case as we did the .co.uk a month later.

There have been many odd decisions in domain disputes like all legal cases they are not exempt from bad rulings that sometimes can be overturned on appeal.

An appeal was out of the question for the wiccan group due to the pensioners limited means. So everything really was hanging on the initial ruling.

It's no wonder it took a sweet cup of strong tea for us to calm Mrs Wisecraft down who at that time had not been in good health of late with the worry perhaps but suddenly seemed quite recovered and transformed.

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Worldwide Press Coverage...

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

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

Even as late as Dec 2007 the ladies of the wiccan group and the dispute was still in the news. Morrigan Wisecraft was somewhat flattered and taken aback when we told 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)

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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

Why did the press report the decision as being from the UN?

Many domain names such as .com and .info as well as others that are administered by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) use a dispute resolution service run by the World Intellectual Property Organisation often abbreviated to WIPO.

WIPO is a United Nations organisation which is based in Geneva Switzerland.

So the headline "UN backs witches in row with Shires developers" when they ruled in our favour against Hammerson Plc and Shires GP Ltd was no exaggeration.

The lessons for other small groups.

Other small groups can benefit from the lessons learned by the ladies of the wiccan group who stood to have their domain name seized in this way.

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

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

2) Although this is no guarantee that you wont have issues at a later date you should acquire your domain names at the earliest opportunity.

3) 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.

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

5) Don't be intimidated by Corporate Goliaths if they come after you for 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 and stand your ground.