American tax operating company H&R Block has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit over financial company Square’s new name Block. The tax operating company which is operational in Canada, the US and Australia, filed the lawsuit on Thursday.
About two weeks ago, giant payments company Square, owned by founder and former CEO of Twitter announced that it was changing its corporate name from Square to Block. The reason for the name change is quite similar to that of Facebook’s name change to Meta, as Square is expanding its business beyond its original credit card-reader business to focus on technologies such as blockchain which its founder seems to be crazy about. In a statement speaking about the decision, Square’s founder Jack Dorsey said that “We built the Square brand for our Seller business, which is where it belongs. Block is a new name, but our purpose of economic empowerment remains the same. No matter how we grow or change, we will continue to build tools to help increase access to the economy”. The company, however, continue to trade under the ticker name “SQ” on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
H&R, with the lawsuit, is trying to prevent Block from using its new name and its reason is nothing other than the financial services company “would improperly capitalize on the goodwill and consumer trust cultivated by Block since 1955.” The company also added that Block, formerly known as Square, will be directly competing with its financial services through its latest acquisition of Credit Karma Tax for tax preparation. The company explains that the names would be confusing for customers because they would be offering the same services.
H&R Block President and CEO Jeff Jones said in a statement that “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”.
On the other hand, while speaking on his reasons for the name change, Jack Dorsey explained that the new name reflects the company’s ambitions outside its original service of card-reading, adding that the name Block “has many associated meanings for the company — building blocks, neighbourhood blocks and their local businesses, communities coming together at block parties full of music, a blockchain, a section of code, and obstacles to overcome”, the company said in its statement.
Block is yet to respond to requests for comments on the issue.