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Post #8 of our Top 10 of IP in 2020

Upcoming changes to the .com.au and .net.au eligibility policies mean that some domain name registrants may need to reconsider their domain name strategies.

auDA, the administrator of the .au domain name space has announced changes to the eligibility policy for several .au domains.  

Among other changes, applicants who rely on an Australian registered trade mark to underpin their eligibility for a .com.au or .net.au domain name will now need to ensure that the domain name is an exact match with the registered trade mark, and not only “closely and substantially related” as at present.

Most likely to be affected are international applicants which do not have an Australian presence through a company or business name to underpin eligibility.  Their Australian domain name registration strategy may need to be revisited.

Separately, companies will be able to register a .com.au or .net.au domain name on behalf of another company in a company group, so long as that other company otherwise meets the eligibility requirements.  This will allow some greater flexibility for corporate group domain name portfolio management.

New policy will prohibit the licensing of sub-domains (eg. xyz.name.com.au), or renting or leasing .au domain names to others.

There will be changes to the definition of non-profit organisations for the purpose of eligibility for .org.au domains.

State or territory based non-profit peak bodies (eg representing sport, association, etc) will be entitled to register in state based name spaces (eg. wa.au or vic.au). And hobbies will no longer be registrable within the .id.au, now to be fully reserved for the names (or abbreviations) of individuals.

Most of these changes will be implemented as each domain name is registered, or comes up for renewal or transfer, from 12 April 2021. ☁︎

2020 has seen a very healthy amount of activity in intellectual property law in Australia.  In no particular order, my Top 10 of 2020 series of posts contains my top ten things in IP from the year, and what they might mean for 2021. 

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