Registrants of existing .au domain names like “.com.au” have until 20 September 2022 to secure their matching “.au” domain name before it becomes open to public registration.
What you need to know (the TLDR version):
- If you have an existing “.com.au”, “.net.au” or “.org.au” domain name that your registered prior to 22 March 2022, you should apply for priority registration of the matching “.au” version of that domain name before 20 September 2022.
- If you have registered a “.com.au”, “.net.au” or “.org.au” domain name after 22 March 2022, you should consider other steps to mitigate risks in relation to the “.au” version of your domain name becoming available to the public from 4 October 2022.
- In either case, you should consider applying to register a trade mark for any brand name that appears in your existing domain name (or the matching “.au” version). Trade mark registrations put domain name owners in the strongest position to deal with third parties who illegitimately seek to register domain names that copy a trade mark registration.
What is a .au direct domain name?
.au direct domain names omit the usual “.com”, “.net” or “.org” extension before the “.au” suffix. Some of the benefits of registration of a .au direct domain name are that it gives website owners the ability to use a shorter name that is easier for uses to type, especially on mobile devices.
Is my business eligible for priority registration?
Your business may be eligible for priority registration if it holds a “.com.au”, “.net.au” or “.org.au” domain name that was registered before 24 March 2022. Any unclaimed .au direct names will be released from priority hold as of 4 October 2022, and made available for registration by the public after this time. In other words, if you do not place a priority hold on the .au direct version of your domain name before 20 September 2022, any third party may be able to register the domain name themselves.
What are the implications for my business?
Considering the typically low cost of registering a “.au” direct domain name, businesses with a significant online presence should consider placing a priority hold on their “.au” domain name match prior to 20 September 2022. There will be limited grounds for a business to seek the transfer or cancellation of a “.au” direct domain name after it has been registered by a third party. For legal issues relating to domain names, it’s inevitably the case that prevention will be better than the cure.
If you have any questions about this article, please get in touch with an author or any member of our Intellectual Property team.
This information and the contents of this publication, current as at the date of publication, is general in nature to offer assistance to Cornwalls’ clients, prospective clients and stakeholders, and is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal or financial advice. If you are concerned about any topic covered, we recommend that you seek your own specific legal and financial advice before taking any action.