I'm looking to purchase
example.com and it's owned by someone in Australia.
They have no site at
example.com, but rather at
Can I purchase
example.com from them or do I have to purchase both to get access to the
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.com domain addresses can be purchased from anyone in the world and do not carry the same restrictions as certain types of national tlds. You are able to purchase their .com address and there should be no issues.
If they have trademarks on their brand this is something to consider, though relatively speaking, it is unlikely that this .com brand is unusable. You may want to check the trademark office of the country you reside in. You can run trademark searches at uspto.gov to check trademarks in the US.
You do not need to own a .com.au in order to own the .com.
.com and .com.au are two totally different domains.
The .com domain is what is known as a top level domain. This means that every domain name using .com is essentially a subdomain of .com.
Similarly .au is a top level domain name. In the case you mention the .com.au domain which is actually a subdomain of .au
So you could for example have a .com.com domain and this would be the equivalent of the .com.au domain. Likewise you could have yourdomain.com or yourdomain.com.au if you so wanted.
From what I understand of your question you just want yourdomain.com. Therefore you would need to purchase yourdomain.com but NOT yourdomain.com.au unless you wanted to use yourdomain.com.au.
Now, domain owners (or in reality renters) can choose to sell a domain that they own, so it is possible that you could buy this domain from them. However, the reality is that they own the domain name because they specifically don't want other people using it.
If you decide you'd like to try and buy the domain from them, the easiest way to do this is to go to a domain seller such as namecheap.com and do a search for your required domain. If the domain is already owned by someone else, you will typically see a link next to it prompting you to make an offer to purchase it from the owner. Follow this link and the associated steps.
Doing things this way means that the domain registrar will take care of contacting the relevant domain company and domain owner and broker a deal on your behalf. They'll also take care of the "paper work" and technicalities of transferring the domain to your control ready for use.