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  • Writer's pictureRaymond Duffy

Domain Name Disputes




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A domain name is part of the “Domain Name System” (DNS) which provides people with an online address linked to an internet website. In Australia, a country code is applied to the top level domain to indicate it is an Australian domain name, such as: .com.au


The .au domain space is administered through the organisation called “au Domain Administration Ltd” (auDA) - https://www.auda.org.au


When an application is made for a .com.au domain name, the application is conducted through an “accredited registrar” as approved by auDA. Eg. Go Daddy.


It is important to understand that when you file an application for a domain name through an accredited registrar and are allocated a specified domain name, such as: "ABC.com.au" that registration does not provide any proprietary ownership rights in the domain name. Rather, you are granted a license.


As a license holder you are subject to the rules and policies administered by auDA. The licensing rules can be found at this link: https://www.auda.org.au/policy/au-domain-administration-rules-licensing


The auDA also provide a Dispute Resolution Policy (.auDRP). See this link: https://www.auda.org.au/au-domain-names/complaints-and-disputes/dispute-resolution


The .auDRP allows a person to make a complaint about a registered domain name on the basis that:

  • the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a name, trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and

  • the holder of the domain name has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and

  • the domain name was registered or subsequently used in bad faith.


Where a complaint under the .auDRP is filed and is successful, the complainant can seek to have the relevant domain name licence:

  • cancelled, in which case the domain name will become available for registration in the normal way; or

  • transferred to themselves, but only if the registrar determines that they are eligible to hold the domain name under the relevant policy rules.


What does bad faith mean?

In the context of domain name registration and use, bad faith means:

  • registering the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or transferring the domain name to another person for more than was paid for it;

  • registering the domain name in order to prevent the owner of a name or trade mark from reflecting that name or mark in a domain name; or

  • registering the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business or activities of another person; or

  • using the domain name intentionally, and for commercial gain, to attract internet users to a website by creating confusion with the complainant's name or trademark; or

  • making false or misleading representations or warranties during the registration process, or where a representation or warranty given during the registration process subsequently becomes false or misleading.

Complaint

If a person "A" believes person "B" has acted in bad faith or otherwise not met the .auDA licensing requirements, then person "A" can lodge a formal complaint with the .auDA.


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Contact Greyson Legal for domain name law advice.

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