Ownership of .au domain names can often be confusing and controversial. This page outlines a number of complaint scenarios which will clarify the process.The Australian Domain Name Administrator (auDA)
is the governing body that regulates and maintains policies in the .au name space. They have several policies and procedures surrounding complaints handling for .au domain registrations.
Below are some of the most common complaints. Please keep in mind that all complaints are different and are handled based on their particular circumstances.Trademark/Company ownership claims to domain names
Registration of .au domain names is made available on a first-come, first-served basis. Prior to policy changes in 2002, a related business name was required to register a .com.au or .net.au domain name. This is no longer the case. As long as a customer has an exact match or close and substantial connection to a domain
, along with valid registrant data, they are eligible to register it.
Please be aware that if you hold a Trademark/Registered Business Name/Company similar to a domain name, you are not automatically entitled to register the domain name. If the name was registered by another organisation before your company existed, and the other organisation is still eligible, they can maintain control of the domain license.
However, if you believe that the current registrant of a domain is not eligible to hold the registration, then you will need to lodge an eligibility complaint.Scenario 1
Jessica owns a business name registration for “Red Apples”. She goes to register the domain name “redapples.com.au”, but discovers that it is registered to “Sarah Smith”, who uses a Sole Trader ABN and trades under the name “Red Apples Design”. Jessica is upset as she feels that she should be the owner of the domain, rather than Sarah.
In this situation, Sarah is eligible to hold the registration of redapples.com.au, as she has a close and substantial connection to the domain name. She was first to register the domain, and as long as she continues to trade under the name “Red Apples Design”, she will remain eligible to hold the registration license.
Depending on the date Jessica registered the “Red Apples” company name, she may or may not be able to lodge a complaint through the .au Dispute Resolution Process (auDRP). She would need to contact auDA to determine the domain name registration date, and could then make a decision on whether to pursue her complaint further.Eligibility Complaints
For the complete list of rules surrounding .au domain name registrations, visit auDA’s Domain Name Eligibility and Allocation Policy, Rules for the Open 2LDs policy at http://www.auda.org.au/policies/2012-04/
As long as the domain registrant remains eligible to hold the registration of a domain, they are able to renew it every 2 years and cannot be forced by another party to cancel or transfer the registration of the domain licence.
Please note that if the ABN/ACN/Registered Business Name/Incorporated Association or Trademark number used to register a domain name is cancelled, the registrant may no longer be eligible to hold the domain licence. If this is the case, a complaint can be made against the domain name to the registrar of record (that is, the company that the domain is registered through), to determine whether the registration is still valid.
Depending on the circumstances of the complaint, the registrant may be provided with a period of time to update their details. However, if the name is no longer eligible it may be deleted from the registry and made available for public registration.
If you believe that a domain registered through Melbourne IT DPS no longer meets eligibility criteria, you can lodge an official complaint below and a member of Melbourne IT DPS’s Compliance team will investigate your claims.Contact usScenario 2
Mark noticed that the owner of timberblinds.com.au, David, is using an expired business name as his eligibility ID to support the registration of the domain name. The domain is registered through Melbourne IT DPS, so Mark contacts Melbourne IT DPS and lodges an official complaint.
Melbourne IT DPS’s Domain Complaints team reviews Mark’s complaint and realises that the Registered Business Name that David is using has indeed expired. They contact David and give him 14 days notice to update his eligibility details. If he fails to do so, the domain name will be de-registered. David responds to the request and provides an updated and valid ABN number. The registration of the domain is updated so that the name meets eligibility criteria. If David had not responded, the domain name would have been deleted. However, as he provided the requested information he is able to retain ownership of the domain licence.Scenario 3
Bianca is interested in registering the domain name pinkbeads.com.au, but the domain is already registered to someone else. She looks up the registrant information on the domain via a whois search
, and notices that the domain registrant appears to be an individual with no connection to the name “pink beads”. She lodges an official complaint through Melbourne IT DPS, the registrar of record for the domain name.
Melbourne IT DPS’s Domain Complaints team review Bianca’s complaint. The domain registrant is contacted, and is given 14 days to explain their connection to the domain name. The registrant does not respond within 14 days, so Melbourne IT DPS, unable to determine the connection between the domain name and registrant, cancel the registration licence. If the domain owner had responded within 14 days with a valid explanation of the connection, they would have been able to retain the domain licence. Because they did not respond, Melbourne IT DPS had no choice but to cancel the domain registration. The domain name is placed in a 14 day “auDA POLICY DELETE” status, before being released into the public pool of available domains the next business day.Further InformationauDA – Australian Domain Policy and Regulation Authority
For further information about auDA policies, you can contact auDA directly using these contact details:
Telephone: 1300 732 929
Facsimile: 03 8341 4112
Post: 114 Cardigan Street, Carlton VIC 3053
You can also submit an online enquiry to our Domain Administration Team, who will be happy to assist..au Domain Policies
You can view and download .au domain policies via the following link:http://auda.org.au/policies/current-policies/.au Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP)
For further information about the .au Dispute Resolution Policy, please see the below link:http://auda.org.au/audrp/audrp-overview/Lodge an Eligibility Complaint for a .au domain registered through Melbourne IT DPS
To lodge a domain eligibility complaint for a domain registered through Melbourne IT DPS, please contact our Domains Department.Contact us