If you have attempted to register a .au domain name and it's already taken; depending on the circumstances, you may be able to gain control over it there is a case of cybersquatting.
Cybersquatting is the practice of an party registering a domain name they are not eligible to under auDA policies. .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) is the authority for the Australian .au domain space.
Cybersquatters register domain names that infringe on trademarks or cause confusion in "bad faith" for the purposes of commercial gain; whether it be to generate revenue from advertising a competing service or attempting to sell the domain name to an eligible Australian registrant at a grossly inflated price.
While cybersquatting is more common in relation to .com, .net and .org registrations as Australia has quite restrictive policy rules and registration processes, cybersquatting on .au domain names does occur from time to time.
Cybersquatting can also include registering a domain name for the express purpose of resale - this is not permitted under auDA policies.
Australian businesses and organisations that feel they have fallen victim to a cybersquatter who has registered an Australian domain name identical to their own business or organisation name, or a "typo" version of the same name, should as a first step consult the .au Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP).
The auDRP is an independent arbitration process, designed to be more rapid and cheaper alternative to commencing litigation proceedings against a squatter. However, do note that the process is not free and will cost you between $2,000 and $4,500 depending on the number of reviewers you elect to have decide upon your case.
auDA does not handle auDRP complaints, but complaints can be lodged with any auDA approved auDRP Provider who will appoint an independent arbitrator to investigate your complaint. One of the better known auDRP Providers is the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
For the steps and costs involved in dealing with cybersquatting, please see the .au Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP).
A cheaper (free) way to raise a complaint with auDA is just through the body's complaints form. However, it's very important to note that even if the name in question is deregistered after an investigation, that will not transfer the registration to you - it will again be available for anyone to register.
Not everyone who cybersquats does so intentionally. If you are considering registering an Australian domain name and wish to avoid accidentally cybersquatitng we recommend you read our domain name registration tips.
How to register a name: Enter your choice in the search tool and click 'GO'. If after the check the domain names search results show your choice is available, you will then have the option to proceed to purchase registration; which is a very quick and easy process - start a search and find your ideal website address now.