Important Changes to and Domain Names


Posted on

March 19, 2021



On 12 April 2021 a new set of rules for the .au country code top level domain  comes into effect. This new set of rules contains some changes for and domain name licences.

The new rules come into effect on 12 April 2021. All .au domain names registered or renewed on or after this date will be subject to the new licensing rules.

Main changes for the and spaces:

  • Using a trade mark to meet the Australian presence test
  • An expanded definition of a corporate entity
  • Related bodies corporate rule

To be eligible to hold any name in the .au country code top level domain, you must first meet the Australian Presence requirement.

Companies can now apply for and hold .au domain name licences on behalf of another company in their corporate group, as long as that related company meets the Australian presence requirement.

Commercial Entity Defined

A commercial entity is eligible to register a domain name in the and namespaces.

In the new licensing rules, the definition of ‘commercial entity’ has been expanded to include Commonwealth entities, statutory bodies under commonwealth state or territory legislation, incorporated limited partnerships under State or Territory legislation, trading co-operatives and the government being the crown.

Using a Trade Mark to meet the Australian Presence requirement

One of the ways you can meet the Australian Presence requirement is by holding an Australian Trade Mark (including a pending Trade Mark application) that appears on IP Australia’s Trade Mark database.

In the new licensing rules for the namespace if you are using an Australian Trade Mark as the basis for meeting the Australian presence requirement, the name you choose must be an exact match to the words which are the subject matter of the Australian Trade Mark.

The domain name must include all the words in the order in which they appear in the Australian Trade Mark, excluding:

  • DNS identifiers such as;
  • punctuation marks such as an exclamation point or an apostrophe;
  • articles such as ‘a’, ‘the’, ‘and ’or ‘of’; and
  • ampersands.”

If your name is not an exact match of the words in the trademark, you will be ineligible to hold that or domain.

Who is affected?

This change affects and registrants who :

Use a trademark as the basis for meeting the Australian presence requirement and have a name which is not an exact match of their trademark as defined by the new licensing rules.

To remain eligible for your domain name you should change the basis on which you meet the Australian presence requirement.