Battle of the Blocks: H&R Block Sues Block FKA Square

There’s only enough room for one block in this financial-services sphere

Accounting offices of H&R Block in New York,. (Photo by: Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty I...
Newscast/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

It was only a couple weeks ago that man (Jack Dorsey) created Block (the company that used to be called Square). And now Block is all grown up and experiencing the tender highs and lows of living, including baby’s first lawsuit under its new name. H&R Block, the 65-year-old tax preparation company, is suing the rebranded digital payments company for trademark infringement, citing a name (Block) and a logo (a green square with a white dollar sign for its Cash App) that is “nearly identical” to H&R Block’s name (H&R Block) and logo (a green square).

“The goodwill that Block has so carefully created and nurtured over the past six decades is now under attack by a Silicon Valley fintech company,” H&R Block’s attorneys said in the complaint, per the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reports that H&R Block has U.S. trademark registrations for “H&R Block,” “Blockworks,” “Block Advisors,” and other related names, but not “Block.” That trademark is held by Square, Inc., a.k.a. Block.

Block’s new name as well as overlapping financial and tax-filing services could cause confusion among customers, H&R Block complained. The company may have a point. Customers are stupid enough to mistake companies with similar names for each other, as I can personally attest to after years of believing that the website builder Squarespace was owned by Square. (It’s not.) Also, having two blocks around makes it very difficult to Google specific information, like when I tried to search “h&r block sues block” so I could aggregate this news story and instead kept getting results about H&R Block and TurboTax getting sued for obstructing access to free tax filing.

Hm. If anything, maybe H&R Block should be the one rebranding. How about “H&R Square”?