By guest contributor Raisa Blanco, Senior Associate to Partner Hazel McDwyer of Gadens, Australia
On 12 April 2021, .au Domain Administration Limited (auDA) implemented a new set of rules for the licensing and administration of domain names ending in .au. The .au Domain Administration Rules: Licensing and .au Domain Administration Rules (Rules) consolidates and updates more than 30 disparate auDA Published Policies.
While many of the existing rules and procedures remain the same, businesses need to be aware of changes with which they will need to be compliant if they want to continue using their .au domain names, or if they intend to apply for a new .au domain name. The new auDA rules apply to all .au domain names (including not-for-profits domains like .org.au and personal domains .id.au) that are created, transferred, or renewed on or after 12 April 2021.
For entities with an existing portfolio of .au domain names, consideration should also be given to registering Australian trade marks. A key change to the Rules relates to the use of an Australian trade mark to meet the Australian presence requirement to register or maintain a .au domain name.
In the Rules, a person using an Australian registered trade mark to meet the Australian presence requirement must use a domain name that is an exact match to the words that are in the Australian registered trade mark (excluding DNS identifiers, punctuation marks, articles, and ampersands).
If a business is using its Australian registered trade mark to meet the Australian presence requirement under the Rules, then its domain name should be an exact match to the Australian registered trade mark, unless the business has another way of meeting the Australian presence requirement, e.g. the domain holder is an Australian company. If the business is not using its Australian registered trade mark to meet the Australian presence requirement, then the domain name does not need to be an exact match to the Australian registered trade mark.
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