Financial planner Canna Campbell (LEAD), also known as SugarMamma, has been found guilty of copyright infringement for her use of the term “financial foreplay” in a podcast.
Campbell, who has an Instagram following of nearly 70,000, is co-host of weekly podcast published by Nova called “How Do They Afford That?”.
According to IP Australia –who administers intellectual property rights – Rhondalynn Korolak, a Melbourne-based accountant and entrepreneur has been the legally registered owner of the “Financial Foreplay®” brand since 2016.
Campbell was reportedly officially informed of an “adverse finding” in January 2021 after she unsuccessfully attempted to register her “SugarMamma’s Financial Foreplay” podcast.
However, findings show she continued to use the trademarked term “Financial Foreplay” in support of several commercial initiatives, such as her podcast (which was subsequently renamed “SugarMamma’s Fireplay”), paid speaking engagements, and commercial endorsements including a lucrative contract with Klarna (the buy now pay later app), that earned the so-called “finfluencer” approximately $86,488 in total.
Despite finding her guilty of trademark infringement, federal circuit court judge Nicholas Manousaridis decided that Campbell did not cause reputational damage to Korolak by calling her podcast “SugarMamma’s Financial Foreplay”.
He did not offer her a cut of profits or any damages, despite Korolak asking the court to award her around damages and profits worth around $555,000.
Commenting on her court win, 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.”
Ms Korolak continued, saying: “It defies logic that Ms Campbell testified under oath that she did not believe 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.”
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