February 19, 2021

.AU Licensing Rule Change


auDA, the registry of Australia’s ccTLDs, has announced changes to their eligibility requirements which will go into effect on 12 April 2021. To register a com.au or net.au domain, the registrant must first meet the local presence requirement. This requirement can be met by 1) having an Australian registered company or 2) own an Australian trademark. The new rule change only applies to registrants that use the Australian trademark as their local presence. If a registrant has an Australian registered company, the following new rules do NOT apply to them.

New Licensing Rules

Previously for the com.au and net.au namespaces, if you were using an Australian Trade Mark as the basis for meeting the Australian presence requirement, you could choose a name that was ‘closely and substantially connected’ to your Trade Mark.

In the new licensing rules for the com.au namespace, if you are using an Australian Trade Mark as the basis for meeting the Australian presence requirement, the name you choose must be an exact match to the words which are the subject matter of the Australian Trade Mark.

The registry describes an exact match as: “The domain name being applied for is identical to the words which are the subject of an Australian Trade Mark.  The domain name must include all the words in the order in which they appear in the Australian Trade Mark, excluding:

  • 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.”

If your domain is not an exact match of the words in the trademark, you will be ineligible to hold that com.au or net.au domain. This applies to both existing and new domain registrations.

Eligibility Examples

Under the new rules, if your trademark is “A Pretty Horse Carousels”

You could register the following domains:

  • aprettyhorsecarousels.com.au
  • prettyhorsecarousels.net.au

But not:

  • phc.com.au
  • Carousels.net.au
  • Aprettyhorse.com.au
  • horsecarousels.com.au

Impact on our Clients

Lexsynergy will be directly contacting all clients that will be affected by these new requirements.