H&R Block Sues Square’s New Block

KANSAS CITY — Tax preparation company H&R Block (Block) has filed a lawsuit against Block, Inc., formerly known as Square, Inc., seeking to enjoin the latter’s infringement of Block’s family of trademarks.

The company says the goodwill and brand identity that Block has carefully cultivated and nurtured over the last 65 years is under attack by the Silicon Valley fintech company, which announced plans on December 1, 2021 to rebrand as Block, Inc. The newly named Block, Inc. competes directly with Block in several areas of financial services, including tax preparation through its recent purchase of Credit Karma Tax, now called Cash App Taxes.

Through many decades of hard work by its franchisees and associates, and billions of dollars invested in marketing, Block has built a valuable brand that has earned and maintained the trust and loyalty of millions of consumers. Rather than generating its own brand equity, Block, Inc. appears to be taking a shortcut to capitalize on the well-known Block moniker. This is a clear violation of Block’s trademark rights, which threatens to confuse consumers and cause harm.

“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.”

Indeed, in the two weeks since the name change was announced, there already have been numerous indications that consumers are drawing a link between the companies due to Block, Inc.’s choice to co-opt the Block name.

The complaint has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. H&R Block is represented in this lawsuit by Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Berkowitz Oliver LLP.