New Australian Domain Name Licensing Rules – Intellectual Property

To print this article, all you need to do is be registered or log in to

The .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) has introduced new licensing rules for the registration of Australian domain names, which apply to all registrants of, domain names and The new rules apply to all Australian domain names registered, transferred or renewed after April 12, 2021.

It is vitally important that if your Australian domain name does not meet the eligibility criteria under the new rules, your domain name may be suspended or cancelled, so this requires your urgent attention!

Changes affecting and domain names

The main changes affecting the and domain names include:

  • Use of trademarks to satisfy the Australian “presence” test
  • Expanded definition of a corporation, and
  • Corporate Rule Related Bodies

Use of a trade mark to meet the Australian “presence” test

If you or your business owns an Australian trademark that appears in IP Australia’s trademark database, you may meet the Australian presence requirement. The domain name used must correspond exactly to the trademark registered in the database. An exact match means that the domain name must include all the words in the order in which they appear in the Australian trademark, except:

  • DNS identifiers such as;
  • Punctuation mark;
  • Articles such as “a”, “the”, “and” or “of”; and,
  • Ampersands.

Thereafter, you may not register domain names that are abbreviations or acronyms of your brand. For example, according to auDA rules, if your brand is “City Central Cafe”, you could have:

However, you cannot have:

  •, or,

Expanded definition of a “corporate entity”

Previously, persons eligible to register domain names included only a company registered in Australia, a partnership or sole proprietor, a person carrying on business under a registered business name in Australia, an overseas company authorized to do business in Australia and an owner or applicant of an Australian trade mark.

The new rule expands the list of eligible persons, introducing the definition of business entity which encompasses other entities to register domain names, including Commonwealth entities, statutory bodies under state law or Commonwealth Territory, Limited Partnerships incorporated under State or Territory Law, Business Co-operatives and Government being the Crown.

Related organizations Corporate rule

Under the new rules, companies can apply for and hold .au domain name licenses on behalf of another company in their group provided an Australian presence requirement is met.

Changes affecting domain names

The new licensing requirements will have a significant impact on registrants.

First, the rules inserted a new definition of “not-for-profit entity” which effectively excludes unincorporated associations (e.g. sports or special interest clubs) from owning domain names if they are not registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC). In addition, organizations eligible to hold domain names under the rule will have a wider range of domain names that they can register. For example, these organizations may register domain names that are matches or synonyms of the name of a service, program, event, or activity that the organization provides at the time of application. domain name.

Use, License and Ownership by Third Parties

The new rules expressly prohibit renting, leasing, or subleasing domain names, which was previously allowed under the old rules. The intention behind this ban is to allow greater transparency for website users to ensure that the domain name holder is the website operator. Entities that have previously authorized the use of their domain name by third parties should consider alternatives to licensing their domain names.

How does this affect you?

If you are a .au domain name holder, it is important that you comply with the new licensing rules and understand how they may affect you/your business. Failure to follow the new rules may result in domain suspension or cancellation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Australia’s Intellectual Property

Comments are closed.