The launch of .au direct: an entirely new domain
auDA recently announced that a new domain namespace will become available on 24 March 2022 for .au direct. This new extension will allow you to register your domain name directly preceding .au, for example: mycompany.au or newdomain.au.
What is the benefit of .au direct?
The new .au direct namespace is shorter, cleaner and likely to be more memorable. Domain names represent your company on the internet, they are often the first place a customer will look, and they can be a valuable asset to your business and brand identity. The new .au direct domain name will also have greater availability to more businesses than before.
Who can apply?
Anyone who has an Australian presence or local connection to Australia will be eligible to registrar. The eligibility criteria is more relaxed than the .com.au or .org.au eligibility requirements, which have a specific allocation criteria. This means that a wider choice of domain names will be available to a broader group of applicants.
If you already hold a .com.au namespace (e.g. yourcompany.com.au), you will be eligible to claim priority on the .au direct equivalent to your current name space (e.g. yourcompany.au), during the first six months from 24 March 2022 (known as the Priority Allocation Period). This means that the equivalent .au direct namespace will be reserved and not available to the public during the Priority Allocation Period, to allow the current owner first chance to register.
If more than one person is eligible to register the .au direct (e.g. one person owns the .com.au, and another the .net.au) there will be a conflict, and priority for registration will be determined by the earliest domain creation date – prior to 4 February 2018 (Category 1 – first priority), or after 4 February 2018 (Category 2 – second priority). If a conflict still remains (e.g. there are two Category 1 applicants), the parties will need to resolve this through agreement or negotiation.
You will be able to apply for priority status as soon as the new application process opens on 24 March 2022 and we can assist you with that process. In the meantime, we recommend checking that your current domain name registration details are up to date, especially if you are looking to claim priority on the .au direct namespace. We also recommend you obtain trade mark protection for your brand, as this locks up exclusivity in the name, and is a useful tool in domain name disputes.
If you are interested in registering a new .au direct domain name, would like more information or assistance, please get in touch with our Digital & Intellectual Property team.
Belinda Breakspear – Partner 07 3233 8968
Alex Hutchens – Partner 02 8241 5609
Matthew McMillian – Partner 02 8241 5644
This publication covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. It is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.