According to a release from auDA, the .au domain name administrator, the appeal judgment, published today, "dismisses all aspects of the appeal and awards costs to auDA".
auDA had commenced a representative proceeding in the Federal Court against DNA and Rafferty on 18 August 2003, which led to Justice Raymond Finkelstein finding on 8 April 2004 that the notices were misleading and deceptive under section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974. Rafferty and DNA subsequently lodged an appeal, which was heard on 24 August.
auDA issued consumer warnings last year saying DNA was sending letters or faxes to some domain name registrants regarding the net.au version of their .au domain name being unavailable or unregistered. The communication, headed Domain Name Registration, could "easily be mistaken for an invoice," auDA said.
auDA chief executive Chris Disspain said in a statement "Having dealt with this appeal, we will now have the matter re-listed before Justice Finkelstein to obtain a timetable for the conduct of the class action in order to secure refunds from DNA and Rafferty for the many thousands of people who have been misled and deceived by these notices.
"auDA reiterates its advice that whilst misleading and deceptive notices, like the ones sent out by DNA and Chesley Rafferty, are rare, all Australians should register or renew their .au domain names only through an auDA accredited registrar or appointed reseller".