New “.au” domain names available for your club

by bqmedia

By Matt Bradford at 07 3224 9353

From 24 March 2022, new .au domains will be released, making way for shorter domain names (e.g. mullinslawyers.au instead of mullinslawyers.com.au). The shorter domain is likely to be adopted by many businesses, including clubs, to maintain their online presence.

As such, all bowls clubs should be considering whether to apply for registration of an .au domain in addition to their current domains.

Why does this matter?

There are no proprietary rights in domain names and they are secured on a first to register basis. However, the release of .au domains on 24 March 2022 has a different priority process to manage the registration of existing domain names. The first step is for clubs to review their current position in preparation for the release of the new .au extension. A club will need to establish that they have an Australian presence to be eligible to register .au domains and to maintain registration of their existing domains, e.g. com.au or .org.au. Some organisations may establish Australian presence through holding an Australian registered trademark that is an exact match to the domain sought. For example, holding the trademark ‘Mullins Lawyers’ for the domain www.mullinslawyers.au.

Unlike domains, trademarks provide a form of protection against domain infringement, particularly where trademarks are contained in domain names. Therefore, this is a great opportunity for organisations to review their existing trademarks and apply for new trademarks where required. Organisations will also establish eligibility by confirming that their legal entity has a relevant connection to Australia such as where they are a registered Australian Company or ABN holder, which of course won’t be an issue for Queensland Bowls Clubs.

Who has priority?

Existing domain holders (such as .com.au holders) will be able to apply for priority from 24 March 2022 to 24 September 2022. For example, as www.mullinslawyers.com.au is held by our firm, we will have priority to apply to register www.mullinslawyers.au. If we fail to make an application during the priority period, and if no other applications claiming priority have been lodged, the .au name will become available to the public.

Will there be conflicts?

Where a conflict claim arises (e.g. abc.com.au vs abc.org.au), a priority system will apply, under which priority will be afforded to domain names registered before 4 February 2018.

Where two or more applicants held registered domains before 4 February 2018, the parties will be directed to negotiate to reach an agreement on priority. Failing agreement, the domain name will be reserved indefinitely.

What to do now

1. Review your existing domains and make sure that they will meet the registration requirements under the new .au rules.

2. Consider whether you want to apply for a .au domain and if so then apply for priority status prior to 24 September 2022.

3. Review and ensure your existing trademarks (if any) are in order.

If you would like to learn more how this may affect your business, require assistance preparing for registration or are considering applying for a trademark, please contact me at 07 3224 0353.