A patent infringement lawsuit was filed by tax preparation company H&R Block against Jackson Hewitt on February 8, 2008. Click To Read Complaint. H&R Block is the owner of US Patent No. 7,072,862 and US Patent No. 7,177,829 and asserts that Jackson Hewitt is infringing both patents.
The ‘862 and ‘829 patents are business method patents that cover providing a tax refund to a tax payer through debit cards, credit cards, or credit at a retailer. The patents also cover the ability to assign other governmental payments, social security payments for example, to creditors that in turn credit the funds to a tax payer via debit cards or credit cards. The complaint alleges that Jackson Hewitt’s ipower CashCard infringes on H&R Block’s two tax refund patents. The complaint seeks three times the actual damages because Jackson Hewitt’s conduct was allegedly intentional and willful.
PRACTICE NOTE: As of February 14, 2008, there are 63 issued patents that are classified by the US Patent & Trademark Office as “tax strategy” patents, with an additional 107 published applications. There have been discussions in Congress to ban tax strategy patents, but until there is a change in the law, tax advisors need to be aware of the tax patent landscape. Follow these steps in order to search for tax strategy patents by classification number:
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