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Hi Sophie,

Good question – I know it has been discussed but not sure there is any conclusive answer. I think the best way to get an absolute on this one is to call the NSW Office.

I have read it before and believe the answer to be that you don’t have to if you are in NSW and purely online – however, have not had this confirmed.
Having said that, I suggest you do still register the business name – for just over $100 odd dollars it could ensure no-one else in NSW is allowed to register a trading name for a physical shop doing the same type of thing. Plus, it gives some credibility I feel, because if need be a customer can find you in the business register etc.

For the trademark – happy to answer any questions you have – as a brief bit of information that might help initially:

1. A trademark by definition is a ‘sign’ you use to distinguish your goods/services from others in the marketplace. Therefore, if your name is too common, descriptive or it is likely others will need to use that name/words in the normal course of trade it will be more difficult to register. – For example: Sophie’s Online Shop could be difficult, because other people named Sophie may legitimately need to refer to their business with this same set of words.

2. When you register, you do so in connection with the goods/services you ‘brand’ with your trademark – i.e. “retail services, including online retailing” – ultimately if you are successful in registration you gain the right to use your trademark for the goods/services you have specified.

3. Trademark registration is a country-by-country process so once registered the above mentioned rights extend throughout Australia – if you will actively target/promote in other countries, you may need to consider whether international protection is required.

4. Trademarks are registered initially for 10 years in Australia, and can be renewed each 10 years if still in use/required.

Hope the above helps and I look forward to following this thread.