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Australian rules change the .com.au #domain playing field

Do you come from a land down under?

G’day mate, if you’re a fan of the land of Oz then good on ya. Just don’t go about registering .com.au domains without an Aussie presence as rules are changing.

The Australian ruler on the dot .AU namespace, auDA, released new regulations on who can register .com.au and .net.au domains, along with trademark priority registrations.

Foreigners with no direct connection to Australia are out; the new rules can be summarized below:

To be eligible to hold a .com.au or .net.au domain:

  • the registering entity must have an Australian presence;
  • the registering entity must be a “commercial entity”; and
  • the domain name must bear a certain connection to that entity’s company name, business name, statutory name, personal name, trade mark or the goods, services, event or activity dealt with by that entity.

For foreign entities that are not incorporated in Australia or registered under the Corporations Act 2001 as an Australian registrable body, the usual way to meet the Australian presence requirement is to be the owner of or applicant for a registered Australian trademark.

Surprise: The 2021 rule changes affect how the domain name must relate to that trademark.

Until now, the domain name only needed to be “closely and substantially connected” to the trademark but from April 12, 2021, an exact match is required to the words in the trademark. The domain name must include all of the words that appear in the trademark, in the exact same order.

So it’s more clear about what’s allowed and what’s not, and if you plan to get some Aussie domains, better read the details carefully.


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