The .au Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP) commenced operation on 1 August 2002 and is applicable to all open .au domain names (ie all com.au, net.au, org.au asn.au, and id.au domain names) registered or renewed from 1 August 2002. The auDRP is intended to provide a cheaper and quicker alternative to litigation for resolution of disputes between domain name holders (known as the Registrants) and parties with competing rights in the domain name.
To succeed in an auDRP action (ie to obtain cancellation or transfer of the disputed domain name) it is necessary for the party (Complainant) bringing the Complaint to show that:
• The domain name is identical with or confusingly similar to a name, trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
• The domain name holder (known as the Registrant) has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
• The domain name has been registered or subsequently used in bad faith.
It is important to emphasise that the onus is on the Complainant to prove each of these three elements.
The Complainant can file an auDRP Complaint with one of the auDA-approved dispute resolution service providers which include the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and The Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia (IAMA).
The auDRP is a local adaptation of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) - an established dispute resolution policy administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which applies to gTLDs such as .com, .net, .biz, .info and .org.
The case of adra.com.au 
The Australian Drivers Rights Association (the Complainant) registered adra.com.au in 1998 and had operated a website at www.adra.com.au. In May 2002, the Complainant instructed a registration reseller to renew adra.com.au (which was due to expire in July 2002). However, the registration reseller failed to renew adra.com.au and as a result adra.com.au lapsed and was de-registered. Accordingly, adra.com.au became available for registration and in August 2002 the domain name was registered by Australian Dust Removalists Association (the Respondent).
In November 2002, the Australian Drivers Rights Association (the Complainant) filed an auDRP Complaint with The Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia (IAMA) on the basis that Australian Dust Removalists Association (the Respondent) registered the disputed domain name mainly in order to prevent the complainant from using its own website or at least to attempt to sell it for valuable consideration in excess of the out of pocket costs of the domain name registration. In response, Australian Dust Removalists Association (the Respondent) argued that the domain name was registered in good faith and that the domain name is an obvious acronym of their association name (which was chosen in 1999). Australian Dust Removalists Association (the Respondent) also stated that they were unaware of the existence of the Australian Drivers Rights Association (the Complainant) prior to the dispute.
The sole panelist appointed to decide the case found in favour of Australian Dust Removalists Association (the Respondent), deciding that the Respondent did have a legitimate interest in the domain name and that the registration of the domain name was not in bad faith. Accordingly, adra.com.au remains registered to Australian Dust Removalists Association (the Respondent).
Apart from the substance of the adra.com.au decision, this case highlights the importance of good management of domain name portfolios and the disastrous consequences of inefficient management of them.
By Philippe Rodhain, Intellectual Property Lawyer, Phillips Ormonde & Fitzpatrick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(For more information on auDRP, see The Launch of the auDRP on this website)
This article is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. You should consult with an attorney specialized in the issue and laws.
 Australian Drivers Rights Association v. Australian Dust Removalists Association, IAMA2351 (.pdf)
Copyright © 2003 Philippe Rodhain. No portion of this article may be copied, retransmitted, reposted, duplicated or otherwise used without the express written approval of the author, other than the normal incidents of copying and transmission associated with the ordinary use of this website.