U.S.-based tax preparation service company H&R Block has filed a trademark infringement case over Square’s new name, Block.
- The lawsuit states: “Block brings this lawsuit to protect consumers from being deceived and to prevent a Silicon Valley tech company from stealing Block’s name.” According to a press release from H&R Block, fintech firm Block’s use of the new name would allow the startup to “improperly capitalize on the goodwill and consumer trust cultivated by Block since 1955.” H&R Block claims that the digital payments firm “competes directly” with it in several areas of financial services, including tax preparation through its acquisition of Credit Karma Tax last year, now called Cash App Taxes.
- H&R Block claims that “Block” has become a “valuable brand that has earned and maintained the trust and loyalty of millions of consumers,” through decades of hard work and marketing investments. Block, Inc., therefore, “appears to be taking a shortcut to capitalize on the well-known Block moniker,” the press release said. “This is a clear violation of Block’s trademark rights, which threatens to confuse consumers and cause harm.”
- In the two-weeks since Block, Inc. announced its name change, H&R Block claims there have been “numerous indications” that consumers are drawing a link between the two companies because of similarity in name. “Today’s filing is an important effort to prevent consumer confusion and ensure a competitor cannot leverage the reputation and trust we have built over more than six decades,” said Jeff Jones, H&R Block president and CEO. “Protecting and defending our brand is crucial.”
- Jack Dorsey, CEO of Block, announced the name change earlier this month, soon after stepping down as CEO of Twitter, to signify the broader scope of products and services it aims to develop in the crypto and blockchain space. The company, however, has retained its old name ‘Square’ for its seller business, which includes payment systems and banking products for merchants.