Court finds Canna Campbell infringed 'financial foreplay' trademark


Financial adviser and finfluencer Canna Campbell was found guilty of infringing the trademark "Financial Foreplay" in her podcasts.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia determined that the founder of SugarMamma TV and SASS Financial used without authorisation "Financial Foreplay," a trademark registered by Businest founder and chief executive Rhondalynn Korolak since February 27, 2017.

Korolak claimed that from about February 12, 2020, to May 2021, Campbell infringed her registered trademark "Financial Foreplay" by using it in relation to her podcasts.

canna campbell financial foreplay trademark

'Deceptively similar' to the trademark

Judge Manousaridis found that Campbell advertised and made public her Financial Foreplay Podcast on Instagram and Facebook in a way that she provided services that constituted "advisory services relating to finance", "advisory services relating to financial matters", and "advisory services relating to money management". Such services relate to how the trademark was registered and its intended use.

The words "SugarMamma's Financial Foreplay", Judge Manousaridis added, are "substantially identical to, or deceptively similar" to the trademark.

Korolak says she has engaged in activities associated with the words "Financial Foreplay" since 2009. This includes publishing a book titled Financial foreplay and registering the domain.

'The facts speak for themselves'

Commenting on her win, Melbourne-based Korolak said: "The judge was very clear in his ruling, because the facts speak for themselves. Canna Campbell should have known that she did not have the right to use my intellectual property to promote her podcast. At the same time, she also leveraged her social media profile (which included the podcast) to benefit from commercial agreements with Klarna, ING Bank, Toyota, Officeworks, Athena Home Loans and other third parties."

"It defies logic that Ms Campbell testified under oath that she did not know she was infringing. I'm flabbergasted that she had the audacity to try to defend her unauthorised use in court by arguing that she did not use my trademark to provide 'financial advice' or 'education'. The judge rejected the flimsy explanations she proffered to justify her unethical and unlawful actions," Korolak said.

In the lead up to the case that went to the court in 2021, Campbell ignored Korolak's requests to cease and desist from her solicitor, as well as two adverse determinations from IP Australia.

Campbell "actively continued to grow her online presence by leveraging my Financial Foreplay brand without my permission", she said.

In terms of granting injunctive relief, declarations, and costs, Judge Manousaridis said he will not make orders yet as he invited both parties to make submissions on these areas.

Korolak to take further action

Korolak is taking further action by raising Campbell's conduct with the Financial Advice Association Australia (FAAA).

As a licensed financial planner and member of FAAA, Campbell is bound by a Code of Conduct to act with integrity, objectivity, and fairness, Korolak said.

"As a result of this litigation, a complaint has been raised and there is an open investigation by the FAAA into this matter," she said.

Korolak says she will pursue various orders against Campbell for legal costs, plus injunctive and declaratory relief.

Campbell and her lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

This article first appeared on Financial Standard

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Karren Vergara is a financial journalist with Financial Standard, covering wealth management, including superannuation, banking and financial planning. Prior to becoming a journalist, she was an accountant for more 10 years. She has a diploma in journalism and Bachelor's degree in business, both from UTS.