auDA applauds court decision

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.au Domain Administration (auDA) has welcomed a Federal Court's decision in its favour against Domain Names Australia.

According to a statement issued yesterday by auDA, the organisation has won its Trade Practices Act claim against Domain Names Australia Pty Ltd (DNA) and Chesley Rafferty.

Justice Finkelstein last Thursday found that the notices -- unsolicited letters for new domain names -- sent by DNA in July and September 2003 were misleading and deceptive, auDA said.

'Justice Finkelstein also found that DNA director Chesley Rafferty was personally involved in the contraventions of the Trade Practices Act by DNA and granted injunctions restraining both DNA and Rafferty from further breaching the legislation,' according to yesterday's statement.

Solicitor for auDA, Craig Ng -- a partner at Maddocks -- explained that the court's finding last week was about notices. These notices were typically unsolicited letters for new domain names that were similar to that person's or business' existing domain name or business name, and that could leave the recipient with the false impression that it's a renewal for their existing domain name.

Ng said that the class action was still before the courts.

Chris Disspain, CEO at auDA, indicated that the organisation planned to continue to pursue its class action against DNA and Chesley Rafferty, 'to secure refunds for the many thousands of people who have been misled and deceived by these notices'.

Disspain said auDA was advising Australian businesses to register or renew .au domain names only through an auDA accredited registrar or appointed reseller.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) yesterday confirmed that it had separate legal proceedings against DNA before the Federal Court in Melbourne last week. A spokesperson told CRN that the organisation could not comment on last week's case 'until we've received his Honour's findings'. She said that this was expected within the next couple of weeks.

CRN was unable to reach Chesley Rafferty for comment at time of going to press.

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