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How do I regain control of an Australian domain name registered by a cybersquatter?

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 if it 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; be it generating 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.\

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 litigation. 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).

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.

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