• Intuit Sues H&R Block Over Copycat Ad
  • April 11, 2006
  • Law Firm: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP - Los Angeles Office
  • Intuit -- the maker of TurboTax -- sued rival H&R Block on April 3, 2006, over a TV ad it says looks too much like one of its own.

    Intuit said that H&R Block infringed on the copyright of its "No More Tax Stores" ad. The company alleged that Block's ad "copies the physical appearance, dress and mannerisms of the characters in the TurboTax ad, as well as the set, staging and pace of the advertisement." Intuit also said the ad includes misleading statements about services that both companies offer.

    This is just the latest lawsuit in what has been a very litigious tax season for H&R Block, the nation's largest provider of tax preparation services. As reported in the February 28, 2006, and March 27, 2006, issues of [email protected], the company is facing lawsuits by New York for allegedly selling money-losing retirement accounts and by California over a controversial loan program. This is the second advertising-related lawsuit between the two companies this year. As reported in the January 24, 2006, issue of [email protected], in January, Intuit agreed to stop running ads that claimed "more returns were prepared with TurboTax last year than at all the H&R Block stores."

    Significance: As April 15 draws near, Intuit, which is the most successful tax software and personal finance company, and H&R Block, the most successful company in storefront offices, are battling as they always do.