H&R Block sues Block, formerly Square, over new name

Tax preparation office pictured in Los Angeles
H&R Block tax offices in Los Angeles, California, U.S. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Dec 16 (Reuters) - Tax preparation company H&R Block Inc(HRB.N) on Thursday sued payment company Block Inc(SQ.N), previously called Square Inc, saying the new name infringed its trademarks.

Block's chief executive, Twitter Inc(TWTR.N) co-founder Jack Dorsey, announced the name change earlier this month as the company looked to expand beyond its payment service into new areas, including blockchain.

In a complaint filed in Kansas City, Missouri, federal court, however, H&R Block accused the company of "stealing Block's name in order to co-opt the reputation and goodwill that Block has earned through decades of hard work."

Block did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

H&R Block said consumers were likely to be confused by the similar name, noting that it has referred to itself simply as "Block" in some advertisements since 2015.

It said the two companies were direct competitors in tax preparation services since Block bought Credit Karma Tax, now called Cash App Taxes, last year. The logo for Cash App Taxes, a green square with rounded corners and a dollar sign, is confusingly similar to H&R Block's green square logo, according to the lawsuit.

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

Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Dan Grebler

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Brendan Pierson reports on product liability litigation and on all areas of health care law. He can be reached at brendan.pierson@thomsonreuters.com.