Domain names direct

A good domain name is a critical part of any modern business identity. Although there is an almost limitless supply of domain names, all of which perform the same function (i.e. identifying online resources), some are definitely more desirable than others. In much the same way that a swish city centre address will be worth more than a similar sized block of bushland, a good domain name can be prize digital real estate.

Despite the ease with which browsers and search engines allow us to navigate the internet, a simple, memorable URL helps customers and clients locate and identify businesses online with speed and certainty.

In Australia, domain names are administered by auDA and, historically, they have been available only in certain categories such as .com.au and .org.au to name a few. However, auDA has announced that, as of March 2022, Australian domain holders can apply to register ‘direct’ domain names in the .au namespace. So businesses will be able to register [mybrand].au as well as [mybrand].com.au or any of the other current options.

The priority allocation period

The new .au namespace will be available to anyone wanting to register a domain name in Australia providing they have a local address or an ABN.

Current registrants of auDA domain names will have the opportunity to apply for Priority Status in the six months following the launch of the namespace, and certain registrations will be reserved for holders of existing domain names. Where several parties are eligible for the same .au registration, priority will in some cases be given to the holder of the senior domain name, and in other cases will be decided by private negotiation.

Registration for .au namespace opens on 22 March 2022

The creation of the .au namespace is designed to provide a greater range of available domain names, to facilitate access to domains on smart phones, and to relax criteria for domain name registration. The new namespace is in addition to, and not instead of, the existing Australian domain names such as .com.au and .org.au with which we are all familiar. This will allow organisations to clearly indicate their structure if they choose to do so e.g. .com.au for businesses or .org.au for not-for-profits.

For further information on or to discuss your domain name and branding portfolio, please contact Shaun Creighton +61 430 227 862 shaun.creighton@moulislegal.com or Graeme Fearon +61 499 836 385 graeme.fearon@moulislegal.com from our intellectual property and technology law team.

This memo presents an overview and commentary of the subject matter. It is not provided in the context of a solicitor-client relationship and no duty of care is assumed or accepted. It does not constitute legal advice.

© Moulis Legal 2021

Key contacts
Graeme Fearon
Special Counsel