As of 1 June 2008, a new and more flexible registrant
transfer policy comes into effect, allowing domain name
registrants to transfer their domain name licence to another
eligible entity for any reason. The new policy has
been approved by the Australian domain name administrator .au Domain
Administration Ltd (auDA) - the
policy authority and industry self-regulatory body for the .au
Key Features of the New Policy
Exact details and wording of the new policy is not yet
available. However, the following key features of the policy
are available here and can be summarised as follows:
.au domain names can not be registered for the sole
purpose of resale;
a 6 month holding period for newly registered .au domain
after 6 months domain names may be offered for
sale/transfer by any means;
standard transfer forms will be used for processing
auDA will ask parties for voluntary and confidential
disclosure of the sale method and price.
From 1 June 2008, there will be an open secondary market for
.au domains, the same as the .com secondary market. Under the
current policy , registrants are prohibited
from advertising for sale and from transferring their .au
domain names for a list of reasons including as part of a sale
of business operations, an assignment of intellectual property,
circumstances of liquidation, transfer between related entities
and as part of settlement of a dispute.
Of concern is whether the more relaxed transfer policy will
facilitate "cybersquatting" -registering of domain
names in bad faith, with the sole intent to sell that domain
name to its rightful owner. However, in light of the 6 month
holding period as well as the unchanged eligibility criteria
and dispute resolution process this appears unlikely. Nicholas
Weston, the law firm behind the Australian Trade Marks Law Blog has a
strong interest in domain names and will continue to provide
dispute resolution services that rely on the "legitimate
interest" and "bad faith" factors to protect
rightful owners from warehousing and domain name speculation.
The firm also recommends registration of critical domain names
as trade marks, to take advantage of the relevant provision of
the .au Dispute Resolution Policy
(auDRP) which assists when a domain
is identical or confusingly similar to a registered trade
However some remain critical of the fact that the policy
regulates against speculative trading as discussed in Marcus
Browne's recent article. Browne discuses the changes with
Larry Bloch, CEO of NetRegistry who on this point says
"this is classic anti-business behaviour from auDA,
not everyone buying something wants to use it, there's
always a section in any market that simply
Overall, relaxing of the rules appears to have been well
received amongst relevant traders and businesses and the more
flexible transfer policy appears to create a more practical and
The content of this article is intended to provide a
general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should
be sought about your specific circumstances.
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