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AfterPay Australia becomes ClearPay in the UK

Australian-based Afterpay has had to re-brand itself ClearPay for its launch into the European marketplace. Its brand name “Afterpay” was already taken by a Dutch company and the Australian company’s trade mark registration was opposed, according to a story AfterPay Logoin the Sydney Morning Herald. The two services are similar – both intending to enable online shopping to be simpler and safer. They differ in that the Australian company’s service enables instalment payments – similar to the traditional “layby” schemes – whereas the Arvato enables post-payment of purchased goods.

Afterpay will use its arrow logo across the different markets and hopes that this will provide the necessary brand recognition.

The case shows the importance for Australian companies of getting trade mark registrations in place early in all potential future markets to ensure that there is no need to re-brand. In this case, Afterpay had an alternative name available to it in the UK that it could use. However, alternative brands are not always easily available and it’s important to get trademark registrations in place early. Merely putting a domain name in place is unlikely to be sufficient – at the latest when a competitor files for its own similar or identical trademark.

New .AU Top-Level Domain Name

Top level domain name xxx.au is likely to be available soon. The .AU Australian Domain Administration Ltd is completing a policy review which has suggested one of the most significant changes in the registration system. Currently, Australia does not enable a domain name registration with simply the company name extension. Businesses register using the so-called “second level domain” .com.au extension and other extensions, such as .org.au are available for other types of entities and personal websites. This is different than Germany or Europe, for example, which both allow direct .de or .eu registration for a domain name.

Other countries have changed over the past few years. France, for example, changed its system many years ago to allow top-level registration in the form of the .fr domain name registration.

The biggest issue on starting the .au top-level domain name will be the initial allocation. How will this be achieved – on a first-come-first-served basis? Or will users of the corresponding .com.au get preference? Or could it be a lottery? What about currently registered trademarks or business names? AUDA has recently issued a policy document outlining options, which can be read here.

The rules for foreign entities with no presence in Australia are also being discussed. Should the .AU domain name be generally available or only open to those who have a trademark registration, for example?

Whatever the final decision on how the registration process is carried out, the opening of the namespace is a significant and long overdue step in modernising the registration system for domain names.