The .au Domain Administration (auDA) has recently announced changes to the eligibility requirements for .com.au and .net.au domain names to come into effect from 12 April 2021.
A registrant of a domain name under the .au top level domain (TLD) must, amongst other criteria, be “Australian”. Currently, a foreign company will satisfy this criteria if it is an applicant for or an owner of an Australian trade mark. However, the domain name must be an exact match, abbreviation or acronym of the trade mark.
However, under the new rules that come into effect on 12 April 2021, .com.au and .net.au domain names that are registered or renewed will be required to have an “Australian presence”. This means that the domain name selected by the foreign company must now only be identical to the words contained in the trade mark but can exclude domain name system identifiers (i.e .com.au), any punctuation, words such as “a”, “the”, “and” or “of” and ampersands. Further, the words in the domain name must appear in the order in which they appear in the trade mark.
This means that for foreign companies, if their chosen domain name does not match the Australian trade mark, it will no longer be eligible to own the domain name. To overcome this issues you may be required to establish another basis for ownership of the domain or to transfer your domain to a new entity (noting that any transfer should take place on or before 12 April 2021 as a domain name can only be transferred between two entities that are eligible to hold it).
Should you need further guidance on this please contact the brandU team for assistance.