Legal Updates

Intellectual Property Law – Domain Names Dispute – Property Developer - Property Law

A recent battle over the name "Highcross Quarters" has taken place between a coven of white witches and a property developer in Leicestershire. The argument has highlighted the issues relating to ownership of internet domain names, within the context of intellectual property law.

The witches, wizards and "goblins" of the Leicester coven objected when a property developer announced that a new extension to the Shires Shopping Centre would be named Highcross Quarter, a term used to denote a series of specific calendar dates important to their religion.

The coven immediately registered several internet domain names using this nomenclature, to set up a website which was to be used by members of the coven to discuss their beliefs and exchange information. The coven subsequently became embroiled in a dispute with the property developer of the £350 million shopping mall, and the developer referred the matter to the World Intellectual Property Organisation for adjudication.

The coven refused to accept any payment in consideration for discontinuing the use of the domain name “Highcross Quarter”.  However, the developer subsequently withdrew any formal opposition to the coven's continuing use of the name. The shopping mall is now to be known as Highcross Leicester.

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© RT COOPERS, 2007. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.   




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