Tax preparation company H&R Block is suing Block — formerly known as Square — for copyright infringement.
Until the end of November, Jack Dorsey was the chief executive of both Twitter and Square. Upon Dorsey’s resignation from Twitter, Square — a financial services and digital payments company with many services that overlap those of H&R Block — changed its name to Block in recognition of its blockchain technology capabilities.
According to a statement from H&R Block:
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.
When Dorsey resigned from Twitter, he announced that former chief technology officer Parag Agrawal would immediately take his place. One day later, the company revealed that it would begin restricting videos and photos posted without consent of the person depicted.
Indeed, Agrawal has previously expressed a willingness to use Twitter’s power to enforce viewpoint discrimination. Agrawal told MIT Technology Review last year that Twitter does not need to be “bound by the First Amendment” and that discourse on the platform should be monitored in a way that reflects “how the times have changed.”
More recently, Twitter abruptly suspended an account that was live-tweeting the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell — who is accused of child sex trafficking as a part of her role as convicted child molester Jeffrey Epstein’s right-hand woman.
Twitter held a progressive bias long before Agrawal assumed the helm. Data from the Federal Elections Commission show that 99% of the online political donations made by Twitter employees in 2021 went to Democrats. ActBlue, the Democratic Party’s funding apparatus, received 561 contributions — totaling $14,848.98 — from Twitter affiliates. Meanwhile, only eight donations were made through the Republican Party’s fundraising counterpart.
Twitter CFO Ned Segal donated $5,800 — the legal maximum individual contribution — to Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA). Seksom Suriyapa also donated the legal maximum to Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who represents Silicon Valley.
Evan Stern, an in-house attorney, donated $2,900 to Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), both of whom are running for reelection in the 2022 midterms. Stern also gave $2,900 to Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, who is running to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA).