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30 April 2022 Posted by 


Secure your .AU name before September 25
TO date, Australian companies have had the luxury of feeling secure that companies without an Australian presence or proof of entity could not apply and certain types of domain names.

These include: .com.au. .net.au and .org.au
On March 24, the Australian Domain governing body, ‘.au Doman Administration’ (auDA), released new domain extension ‘.au’ and has given current owners of Australian domain names including ‘.com.au’, ‘net.au’ and ‘.org.au’ a period of six months to register interest to own the ‘.au’ domain name. This period is called the Priority Allocation Period and ends on September 24, 2022.
Unlike existing rules to obtain Australian domain names, the applicant for the ‘.au’ is not required to show proof of having a registered a company name, trust name, business trading name or trademark which corresponds to the domain name to be eligible to own the address.
What does this mean for Australian business owners?
If you are a business and have current domains with ‘.com.au’ ‘.net.au’ you only have priority for six months to purchase and register the new address with just ‘.au’.
After six months (September 2022) anybody will be able to purchase the ‘.au’ domain names.
If you own both the ‘.com.au’ and the ‘.net.au’ you will not have any problems registering the “.au” name(s) provided you do so prior to the September 24, 2022 cut-off date.
Rules for contested domain names

If you only own one of either the ‘.com.au’ OR the ‘.net.au’ purchase of the ‘.au’ may be contested by the party that owns the alternative. Contention over domain names will be dealt with by auDA. 

On auDA’s website, they have stated the following criteria to determine which applicant would own the ‘.au’ name.
Priority Category 1: Names created on or before the cut-off date of February 4, 2018
Priority Category 2: Names created after the cut-off date of February 4, 2018
What happens if two or more parties lodge interested in purchasing the ‘.au’ domain name?
Minipanda.com.au is owned by Mini Panda Ice Cream and was registered prior to  February 4, 2018 (priority category 1).
Minipanda.net.au is owned by Mini Panda Day Care Centre and was registered after to February 4, 2018 (priority category 2).
Minipanda.org.au is owned by Mini Panda Not for Profit Charity and was registered after to February 4, 2018 (priority category 2).
In this scenario, only Mini Panda Ice Cream had satisfied priority category 1, therefore will obtain the right to own the ‘minipanda.au’ domain name and the other two applicants will miss out.
Online Tool to check if your ‘.au’ domain name has been applied for priority allocation
On the auDA website, there is an online tool will tell if you if another party has registered their interest for your ‘.au’ name. You just need to type in your domain name and you will be able to generate a report on the availability of the ‘.au’ and/or state the name of the party requesting a ‘priority hold’: 
What happens if you miss the deadline to claim priority of your .au domain name?
Once the six months Priority Allocation Period has expired, you will lose your priority right to any ‘.au’ domain. These will become publicly available for registration on a first-come-first-served basis. Remember, unlike the strict rules for ‘.com.au’, ‘net.au’ and ‘.org.au’, this domain extension is open to all to purchase after September 24, 2022.
It is advisable that if you are a business owner, you should immediately contact your domain service provider, or contact co-author Sasha Buac from ‘Hosting Etc’ on 1300 256 512, authorised domain name service provider.
Brand protection: Trade Mark verses Domain names
It is important to note that domain names are critical to have as part of your marketing and online marketing strategy, however, please note that domain names do not provide the business owner any legal protection for the ownership of the brand name, whether it is the ‘word’ and/or ‘logo’.  
Likewise, a company name and trading name, also do not offer any legal protection under Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) in Australia. Therefore, obtaining your ‘.au’ domain name is important before the September24  deadline, as it is an inexpensive method of prevent another party popping up using your brand name. 
If you value your brand, you must explore obtaining trademark protection for your business. 
In the meantime, ensure you secure your ‘.au’ domain name, as if you miss the deadline, the contested domain name process will not be pleasant and could be costly to your business. Cost for the ‘.au’ domains start from $20.95 to place a priority hold. Don’t delay.
Binh Rey is Principal Trade Mark Attorney at Pointon Partners
Sasha Buac is Managing Director at Hosting etc | Domain Name Service Provider



Michael Walls
0407 783 413

Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.