Important Changes to Australian Domain Name Rules: Is your .au domain name secure?

New licensing rules: April 12, 2021

New licensing rules apply to the registration of Australian domain names, including .com.au and .net.au, from April 12, 2021.

The new rules will apply to all Australian domain names registered or renewed after April 12, 2021. If your Australian domain name does not meet the new rules (once in effect for your domain name), it may be suspended or cancelled.

In short, foreign entities that own Australian domain names and do not have an Australian presence must have an Australian trademark application or registration in place that substantially matches the words of that domain name, after April 12, 2021. Otherwise, this domain name may be suspended or canceled.

For Australia-based entities, the possibility of holding domain names has opened up and expanding your domain name portfolio to maximize traffic to your website is an option for you.

Beware of Foreign Owners

The new rules retain the threshold requirement for Australian domain name owners to have an Australian presence, but the way foreign entities can meet this requirement is now limited.

Do you have an Australian Trademark application/registration?

Unless a non-Australian domain name owner has an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN), they must rely on an Australian trademark application or registration to establish the Australian presence requirement. and the domain name must be exact word match which are the subject matter of the Australian Trademark (excluding the domain name extension, punctuation and a, the, and, or, of and &).

It will be not be sufficient if the foreign owner’s domain name is an abbreviation, is an acronym or contains an Australian trademark word.

Example:

*NB: these domain names are not necessarily available and may already be registered.

Australian owners consider new listings

Owners of Australian businesses, corporations, governments and organizations will easily meet the Australian presence requirement. However, Australian entities should consider registering a wider range of domain names as attribution rules have become easier to meet.

Are you maximizing your domain name portfolio?

Domain names can be registered to be redirected to a main domain name website, thereby capturing more internet traffic to a business.

The new rules allow the registration of domain names that match where are you acronym of a brand, a company, a business, a statutory name, personal or match where are you synonymous of a service, product, event, activity, premises that an owner provides/operates.

Example:

*NB: these domain names are not necessarily available and may already be registered.

What to do now?

Foreign owners:

Get a list of your Australian domain names and check:

  1. Are the owners of your Australian domain names an Australian subsidiary or a foreign entity registered in Australia (with an ARBN)?
  2. If your Australian domain names are owned by non-Australian entities, do you have an Australian trademark that exactly matches the word element(s) (excluding domain name extension, punctuation and a, the, and, or, of and &) of the domain name?

YES? No further action is necessary.

CDC can help you with this due diligence.

NO? If you wish to keep the domain name, please consider:

  1. Australian trademark registration to meet new rules; WHERE
  2. Transfer ownership of your Australian domain names to an affiliated Australian subsidiary and consider entering into an agreement with that subsidiary regarding its ownership of the domain name; WHERE
  3. Register your foreign entity in Australia.

If you need more time to develop a strategy, you can consider renewing your domain name before April 12, 2021, extending the duration of the application of the current rules, if the registration of your domain name is within the renewal period of 90 days.

CDC can help you with these steps.

Australia owners

Get a list of your Australian domain names and check:

  1. Can you leverage your trademark/trade/corporate name and register more domain names?
  2. Can you expand your domain name portfolio to register terms associated with your business?

DCC is a Melbourne IT reseller and can register your domain name.