It didn’t take long for Jack Dorsey’s post-Twitter life to become more complicated.
The former CEO of the big tech giant is finding himself and his company, Block Inc. — formerly called Square — in legal hot water for alleged trademark infringement, according to a lawsuit filed by tax preparation giant H&R Block.
The company argues that Dorsey’s financial technology startup name change will “improperly capitalize on the goodwill and consumer trust” that it has sought to instill since 1955.
“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,” H&R Block noted in a news release.
“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,” the release continued.
When I joked that BlockFi might not like Square renaming itself to Block, I completely overlooked H&R Block… which is now suing.
According to H&R Block's lawsuit, "Block Inc.’s name change will deceive consumers and cause irreparable harm to Block." 👀 pic.twitter.com/pDMhHdURHH
— Zack Guzmán (@zGuz) December 16, 2021
Jeff Jones, H&R Block President and CEO, added: “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. Protecting and defending our brand is crucial.”
The press release also claimed that “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 tax preparer filed its suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, the release noted.
At the end of November, Dorsey abruptly announced he was stepping aside as Twitter’s CEO and that the new chieftain would be Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief technology officer.
“I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders. My trust in Parag as Twitter’s CEO is deep. His work over the past 10 years has been transformational. I’m deeply grateful for his skill, heart, and soul. It’s his time to lead,” said Dorsey in a statement.
“On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Jack for his visionary leadership and unrelenting dedication to Twitter since its founding,” noted Bret Taylor, the platform’s incoming Independent Board chair.
“Jack returned to Twitter and turned the Company around at the most critical time. The progress since then has been nothing short of incredible. Jack has given the world something invaluable and we will continue to carry it forward,” he added.
In changing Square to Block Inc., Dorsey said the objective was to “allow the company to distinguish its corporate entity from its businesses, noting that Square has become synonymous with its seller business,” Fox Business reported, adding, “Square, Cash App, TIDAL and TBD54566975 will continue to maintain their respective brand names, while Square Crypto will be renamed to Spiral.”
“Block is a new name, but our purpose of economic empowerment remains the same,” Dorsey noted. “No matter how we grow or change, we will continue to build tools to help increase access to the economy.”
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