Direct registration now available at .au – The priority period and what you need to know
As of 24 March 2022, it is now possible to register a domain name directly at the .au domain eg. www.yourname.au. This is being called “.au direct” by auDA, Australia’s domain name registry.
This change follows the change in the .nz domain space in 2014 to allow registration directly at .nz.
Up until this point, registration with the .au top level domain suffix was only available via intermediate domains such as .com.au and .net.au.
Priority allocation Process
In order to allow existing registrants of a .com.au, .net.au, org.au, asn.au, id.au, gov.au or edu.au domain name to register the corresponding direct .au domain, a Priority Allocation Process from 24 March 2022 to 20 September 2022 has now begun.
During this period, the holder of an existing domain under one of these domains can register the identical domain directly under the .au suffix.
What if there are two different owners?
There will be situations where there is a current registration for yourname.com.au and yourname.net.au, for example, where each of these is owned by a distinct owner.
AUDA has developed a useful tool, allowing registrants to check priority and see if there are other registrants eligible for a .au direct name.
In these cases, the party with the earlier registration date for their domain will be entitled to register the .au domain if the original domain was registered prior to 4 February 2018 (when the direct .au regime was proposed). If multiple parties held a registration before this date, they will need to negotiate to determine who is will have the direct .au registration. A more detailed explanation of the priority allocation process is available here.
.au open to all comers from 21 September 2022
From 21 September 2022, direct .au registration will be open to all comers (including the potential for opportunistic third parties) so it is prudent to secure your existing name or trade mark prior to this time.
However, it is noted that for any .au domain registration, whether directly at .au or not, the normal .au eligibility rules apply. This includes the requirement for an “Australian presence” which may be satisfied by a range of means including entity registration or a trade mark registration.
Please contact us if you wish to discuss this or any other issues in relation to domain names, trade marks or other intellectual property.
Jesse Strafford – April 2022