Orange County - Three units of H&R Block Inc. filed a lawsuit against TurboTax maker Intuit Inc. claiming that the company launched an advertising campaign that infringes H&R Block's trademark and misleads consumers as to the legitimacy of H&R Block's services.
H&R Block Eastern Services Inc., HRB Innovations Inc. and H&R Clock Enterprises LLC oppose the newest marketing campaign Intuit launched in order to promote the do-it-yourself tax return software for the upcoming tax season. H&R Block accused Intuit of airing advertisements that make unauthorized use the H&R Block trademark and falsely represent H&R Block's competence to file tax returns.
H&R Block claims it has spent over half a century building its trademark, which is strong, distinctive and famous. The complaint alleges that Intuit is using its trademark in order to degrade the company and enhance its own profits.
The complaint alleges its trademark is being used in the advertisements to compare services and to suggest that H&R Block recruits and employs tax preparers with no experience, who are not adequately trained or credentialed and are simply seasonal employees while TurboTax offers "real tax experts" to handle customer questions.
H&R Block also alleges that Intuit's advertising campaign attacks the reputation of H&R Block by suggesting that more people use, and therefore trust, TurboTax than H&R Block's traditional in-store services.
The complaint goes on to say that Intuit's "claims are unsupported and its actions are not innocent." It alleges that the campaign was timed to launch at the beginning of the tax season in order to maximize Intuit's benefit and to inflict the maximum amount of harm on H&R Block.
The complaint seeks immediate injunctive relief, claiming that if Intuit is allowed to continue its advertising campaign it will do irreparable harm to H&R Block. "Every day that the Campaign continues to run, Plaintiffs suffer great harm in that Defendant's misinformation may lure an untold number of consumers to Defendant's product, dissuade consumers from seeking Plaintiffs' services, or both," the complaint said.
H&R Block claims monetary remedies are not sufficient, as each current customer of H&R Block that is duped by the advertising campaign is likely to be a customer lost for life, as tax preparers tend to use the same method every year. Though, the complaint does ask for Intuit's profits that were obtained by its deceptive ads and for other damages.