24 September 2019

Today’s blog post focuses on the .au Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP), implemented by auDA to protect the .au namespace against unlawful disputes. 

What is the purpose of the auDRP?

As explained by Steph Viljoen, Compliance and Analytics Manager at auDA, “The purpose of the auDRP is to provide a cheaper, faster alternative to litigation for the resolution of disputes between the registrant of a .au domain name and a party with competing rights in the domain name.”

Steph goes on to say that complainants are not obliged to use the auDRP but may instead choose to pursue other means of resolving their dispute. Steph also explains that commencement of an administrative proceeding under the auDRP does not prevent either party from initiating legal proceedings at any time.

The key elements of auDRP 

As noted in the .au Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP), the elements which a complainant must prove when making an auDRP complaint are:

(i) That the respondent's domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a name, trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; 
(ii) The respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) The respondent's domain name has been registered or subsequently used in bad faith.

For example, let’s say you have registered a domain name for your shoe repairs business, emsshoerepairs.com.au. You have recently been contacted by someone saying that you are in breach of their existing trademark. At this early stage, the complainant could file an auDRP case to be resolved by an auDRP panel member.

Please be aware that the auDRP panel members charge a fee for conducting an auDRP proceeding, as listed in section 4.3 of the auDRP. It is important to note that auDRP complaints are conducted independently from auDA and that auDA cannot provide any advice relating to an auDRP complaint.

Protecting .au

A detailed overview of panel views on selected auDRP questions (and topics), and an explanation of how auDRP differs to UDRP is available on the auDA website. The current and resolved auDRP proceedings can also be found here.

The Australian namespace is protected by policies such as auDRP to ensure that domain name operations within .au remain as robust and secure as possible. For more information, please visit the auDA website.

Have a question, some feedback or an idea for a future blog post? Email us at blog@afilias.com.au