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Changes to the .com.au and .net.au namespace after April 2021

As of the 12th of April 2021 auDA will be commencing a series of new rules surrounding the .au namespace, to be eligible to hold any name in the .au ccTLD you must meet certain eligibility requirements, in the case of .com.au and .net.au domain names one of the suitable requirements is a trademark. The rules coming into place early next year will change how a trademark will be used and will impact domains currently registered with a trademark that doesn’t exactly match the domain name itself. 

The new rules:

To expand on this if you held the trademark for “a trademark example” you would be eligible to register and maintain the domain “trademarkexample.com.au” or “atrademarkexample.com.au”, but not “example.com.au” or “trademark.com.au” or any other variation. The only permissible changes to the extract order and spelling of your specific trademark are as per below

  • DNS identifiers such as com.au;
  • punctuation marks such as an exclamation point or an apostrophe;
  • articles such as ‘a’, ‘the’, ‘and ’or ‘of’; and
  • Ampersands.”

Existing registrations:

If you have an existing domain, using a trademark which is not an exact match of the trademark as defined by the new licensing rules you will need to either perform a CoR to update the eligibility used, to something like a suitable ABN/ACN, or register a new trademark for the domain you own. Current licensing will be honoured up to the maximum five year registration period possible on .au domains. Domains can still be transferred and renewed prior to the rules commencing.

Additionally under the new licensing rules companies can apply for and hold .au domain names on behalf of another company in their corporate group. Provided the related company meets the Australian presence requirement. The exception to this is registrars (like ourselves) due to potential conflict of interest. 

On top of this the definition of ‘commercial entity’ will be expanded to include Commonwealth entities, statutory bodies under commonwealth state or territory legislation, incorporated limited partnerships under State or Territory legislation, trading co-operatives and the government being the crown.

More information can be found here.

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