Public Will Not Confuse Name With H & R Block, Says Block

Block Inc, formerly known as Square, has made a formal argument at a Missouri federal court stating that its new name won’t confuse potential customers with tax-preparation giant H&R Block who has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the financial-services company. - 2022-01-11T144448.837.jpg

San Francisco-based Block has also asked the court to throw out the lawsuit which was made in December 2021.

According to H&R Block, accusations were made on Block for stealing its name to “co-opt the reputation and goodwill that H&R Block has earned through decades of hard work.”

H&R Block’s complaint stated that consumers were likely to be confused due to the similarity in names of both the companies, Block’s Cash App logo – a rounded green square, which H&R Block argued was confusingly similar to its own green-square logo.

“While H&R Block may not like that it has to compete with a truly free income tax preparation service offered by an established business like Cash App, its appropriate recourse is to take on Cash App in the marketplace, not to fabricate trademark claims that are implausible on their face,” Block responded in its motion to dismiss the case.

On a Friday court filing, Block said that it doesn’t offer any customer-facing products under the Block name. To further support their claim on the name, Block argued that a reasonable consumer couldn’t confuse its competing tax-preparation product, Cash App Taxes, with H&R Block’s services.

Jack Dorsey – Block’s chief executive, Twitter co-founder and an avid proponent of cryptocurrency – announced the name change last month to align with its increasing focus on blockchain.

“Our focus is on helping bitcoin to become the native currency for the internet,” Dorsey said during the company’s earnings call in November 2021.

Block has strongly stated that the company doesn’t use the name on a competing product and it is merely a “house of brands” that includes services providers like Square, Cash App, and music-streaming service Tidal.

It also said its logo won’t cause confusion with H&R Block’s because of their visual differences.

According to a report by Blockchain.News, Block shares closed down more than 8%, marking a 52-week low on January 05, 2022, which was a fall in stocks as part of a recent sell-off in growth names and risky assets amid concerns of Fed rate hikes.

Since changing its corporate name on December 1, 2021, to align with its increasing focus on blockchain, the company was down about 26%, the report added.

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H & R Block Sues Block for Trademark Infringement

Block Inc, previously called Square Inc, was sued by tax preparation company H&R Block Inc for trademark infringement. - 2021-12-17T145306.073.jpg

H&R Block said in a press release that the fintech company “would improperly capitalize on the goodwill and consumer trust cultivated by Block since 1955”.

H&R Block is seeking a court order barring Block from using the name or green square logo.

According to H&R Block, the similarity in names would be overly confusing for consumers, especially given the two companies’ overlapping offerings.

H&R Block also stated that the company formerly known as Square, competes with it directly in financial services, including through its recent acquisition of Credit Karma Tax for tax preparation.

“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 H&R Block President and CEO Jeff Jones said in a statement.

While Block’s chief executive, Twitter Inc co-founder Jack Dorsey, said that the intention behind the name change earlier this month was a strategy to expand beyond its payment service into new areas, including blockchain.

H&R Block filed their complaint in Kansas City, Missouri, federal court.

H&R also pointed out in their complaint that it has referred to itself simply as “Block” in some advertisements since 2015. Hence, potentially leading to confusion for consumers due to the similarity in name.

Blockchain.News reported on Dec 15 that this holiday season, Block owned Cash App users will be able to gift both crypto and stock to other users of the app.

The app joins other services like Stockpile, PayPal and Coinbase in allowing users to gift stocks and cryptocurrencies to third parties, respectively, but Cash App notes this is the first time such features have been offered in a peer-to-peer payments app.

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