New Australian domain name – Lexology

A new Australian domain name, .to will be available from March 24, 2022. Australian individuals, businesses and organizations will be able to register their existing and new domain names in the .to domain namespace (for example, newname.au). Calling on the abbreviated word tradition in Australia, .to is intended to create shorter, more memorable names that are easier to grasp and market.

  • New .to domain names that not already match an existing Australian domain name will be available to register from March 24, 2022.
  • Owners of existing Australian domain names who wish to own the .to equivalent must submit a request during the priority claim period from March 24, 2022 to September 24, 2022 under penalty of .to domain name being registered by another.

Who is eligible to own a .to domain name?

Any person, company or organization can register a .to domain name provided they have an Australian presence.

An Australian presence means being one of the following:

  • An Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  • An individual trader, partnership, corporation, incorporated association or trust with a current ABN or ACN.
  • An organization that is registrable with an ARBN, an Indigenous company, a registered organization, an Australian cooperative, an Australian registered charity, an Australian political party or an unincorporated association in company.
  • Australian educational institution, Australian government or Commonwealth entity.
  • A foreign company with an Australian trademark application or registration, provided that the domain name exactly matches the words of that trademark.

Does the domain name have to be related to my business product or service?

There is no requirement for a .to domain name to have a connection with the business, product or service of an owner. Any name can be registered as long as it is available, meets syntax requirements, and does not appear on the list of reserved names. Unlike other Australian domain names which are intended for specific use, such as .com.au for commercial entities and .org.au for non-profit entities, the new .to the domain name space does not have such allocation requirements.

What is the time limit for claiming priority?

From March 24, 2022 to September 24, 2022, all existing Australian domain names will be reserved for a period of six months.

Meanwhile, owners of existing domain names can submit a priority request if they wish to own the new one. .to that matches their existing domain name. For example, the owner of newname.com.au must submit a priority request for newname.au if they wish to register this new domain name.

There is no obligation for existing domain name owners to request priority, but if they do not, they will be made available to the public on a first come, first served basis on the 25th. September 2022.

What if there are competing priority claims?

There will be cases where owners of the same domain name, registered in different Australian domain namespaces, will request priority for the same .to domain name. For example:

  • Harry owns com.au, which was registered on June 22, 2010.
  • Jack owns net.au, which was registered on October 8, 2012.
  • Sébastien owns org.au, which was registered on May 5, 2020.

All of the above owners are eligible to apply for a priority claim at newname.au.

These owners will be divided into two categories:

  • Priority category 1 Domain names created no later than February 4, 2018
  • Priority category 2 Domain names created after February 4, 2018

Category 1 applicants have priority over category 2 applicants.

When there are only category 2 candidates, the name is assigned to the candidate with the oldest creation date.

When there are more than one Category 1 candidate, the .to the domain name will be allocated after agreement / negotiation between the category 1 candidates.

In the examples above, Sebastian’s claim is overtaken by Harry and Jack, who must negotiate who will own the domain name.

If Harry and Jack cannot agree on who owns the domain name, then newname.au will remain reserved indefinitely, provided that Harry and Jack renew their priority claim requests on an annual basis.

What can you do now to be ready for March 24, 2022?

Now is the time to consider:

  • Which of your existing domain names would you like to register in the .to domain name space?
  • Are there any new domain names that you would like to register in the .to domain name space?
  • If you intend to request priority, verify that your existing Australian domain name meets the eligibility criteria for that existing Australian domain name. Your eligibility for your existing Australian domain name will be verified when you apply.
  • Make sure you know the domain name password for your existing Australian domain name, which will be required for your request to be accepted.
  • Make sure that the registrant information associated with your existing Australian domain name is up to date, as you will not be able to change it while your app is active.

Making a priority claim request will incur a fee, which will vary by registrar. As a Melbourne IT reseller, Davies Collison Cave can submit applications for new .to domain names and priority requests on your behalf.

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