The Australian Registry recently announced that it will launch its .au domain name on 24 March 2022. This extension will allow registrants to obtain shorter and sharper second level domain names, for example, mycompany.au, as opposed to the previously available longer third level domain name extensions (such as mycompany.com.au or mycompany.net.au).
The pandemic has taught people that anything can be purchased online, and from any destination as well. Online sales have most definitely soared in the past 18 months or so and customers have appreciated the convenience and safety of online shopping. It is important to secure registration of domain names as part of a strong brand strategy in order to prevent third parties from obtaining registration of domain names that may cause consumer confusion, and could potentially result in a costly transfer of a domain name to its rightful owner.
In order to secure a .au domain name, the applicant will be required to have a local presence in Australia. Those applicants who have already secured an Australian domain name, for example, a <.com.au> or <.net.au> domain name, will be afforded an opportunity to claim priority from their registered domain names during the first six months of the .au launch. This is known as the Priority Allocation Period and means that the .au direct domain name will be reserved and not available to the public during the first six months of the launch to allow the current owner to secure registration.
If clients have a local presence in Australia, we recommend that consideration be given to registering the .au domain name extension. It is important to ensure that existing domain names are renewed in order to benefit from the Priority Allocation Period. In addition, we recommend that clients protect their trade marks of interest in Australia to prevent third parties from registering .au domain names that incorporate their trade marks. Clients can rely on their trade mark protection in the event of any domain name disputes arising.
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.