.au Domain Eligibility Complaints and Scenarios

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Domain ownership of .au domain names can often be confusing and controversial. This page outlines a number of complaint scenarios to help you, our customers, understand the processes.

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 defined procedures surrounding complaints handling for .au domain registrations. 

Below are some of the most common complaints that arise. Please keep in mind, all complaints are different and they are handled on a case by case basis.

Trademark/Company ownership claims to domain names

When it comes to registering .au domain names, registrations are provided on first-come, first-served basis to available applicants. Prior to the policy changes in 2002, a registered business name was required to be eligible 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, you are eligible to register any domain you wish.

Please be aware, if you hold a Trademark/Registered Business Name/Company similar to a domain name, you are not automatically entitled to register a domain of the same name. If the name was registered by another organisation before your company existed, and the other organisation is still eligible, they are able to 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”, using a sole Trader ABN, but trading 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 the domain redapples.com.au, as she has a close and substantial connection to the domain name. She was first in 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” domain, 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

As long as the domain registrant (A registrant is the person or company who registers a domain name. For example, Jessica Jones (registrant) registers the name jessicajones.com through NetRegistry (registrar), who in turn writes the name to the central database, remains eligible to hold the registration of a domain. She is 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, if the ABN/ACN/Registered Business Name/Incorporated Association or Trademark number used to register a domain name is cancelled, then 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 (A "Registrar" (or "Domain Name Registrar") is an organisation like NetRegistry or MelbourneIT that has control over the granting of domains within certain TLDs (top level domains, like the generic .com/.org/.net or country-specific .au, .nz etc), 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 Netregistry no longer meets eligibility criteria, you can lodge an official complaint by sending an email to domains@netregistry.com.au.

Once received, a member of Netregistry’s Domain Complaints team will investigate your claim.

Scenario 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 Netregistry, so Mark contacts Netregistry and lodges an official complaint.

Netregistry’s Domain Complaints team review Mark’s complaint, and realise that the Registered Business Name that David was using had indeed expired. They contact David, and provide him with 14 days notice to update his eligibility details, or risk the domain name being de-registered. David responds to the request and provides an updated and valid ABN number, and 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 Netregistry, the registrar of record for the domain name.

Netregistry’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 Netregistry, 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, but because they did not respond, Netregistry 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 back into the public pool of available domains the next business day.

Further Information

auDA – Australian Domain Policy and Regulation Authority

For further information about auDA policies, you can contact auDA directly via the below contact details:

Telephone: 1300 732 929
Facsimile: (03) 8341 4112
Email: info@auda.org.au
Post: 114 Cardigan Street, Carlton VIC 3053

You can also submit an enquiry online to our Domain Administration Team, who will be happy to assist with any enquiries you may have.

.au Domain Policies

You can view and download .au domain policies via the following link: http://www.auda.org.au/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 Netregistry

To lodge a domain eligibility complaint for a domain registered through Netregistry, please contact our Accounts and Billing Department.

auDA Help FAQ

For general information about Domain Name Basics, Domain Name Registration Issues and other .au name space items visit the auDA FAQ.

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