When registering an “.au” domain name you are required to prove that you have an Australian presence. One way of doing this is to be the owner of an Australian Trade Mark application or registration.

Currently, it is acceptable to register an “.au” domain if you are the owner of a Trade Mark that is closely and substantially connected to the domain for which you are applying to register. However, on 12 April 2021, the .au Domain Administration (auDA) will be changing the eligibility requirements and from this date it will be a requirement that the domain name be an exact match to the Trade Mark on which it is based.

An exact match is defined as:

“… that 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.”

By way of example, once the change comes into effect, if you are the owner of the Trade Mark “Spruson and Ferguson”, you would be able to register domains such as:

  • www.sprusonandferguson.com.au
  • www.sprusonferguson.com.au

However, you would not be able to register domains such as:

  • www.sprusons.com.au
  • www.sandf.com.au

If you are the owner of an existing domain name registration which uses an Australian trade mark as the basis for meeting the Australian presence requirement which is not an exact match, you will be required to change the basis.

It is also important that this is done prior to your renewal date. In the event that you are unable to meet the new eligibility requirement by the renewal date for your domain, the domain registration will expire.