Happy Tax is a smaller, lesser known competitor to H&R Block, one of the leaders in the tax preparation industry. Happy Tax alleges that H&R Block misleads the public by advertising its upfront and transparent pricing plan is available “only from H&R Block.” Happy Tax contends this pricing strategy was Happy Tax’ innovation, and that it has been advertising this upfront and transparent pricing since 2015.
Happy Tax CEO Mario Costanz has described this pricing strategy as a key differentiator which H&R Block should not be allowed to take credit for, and certainly not describe as not available elsewhere. He has said
“While I am pleased that so many in the industry continue to copy our ideas, I don’t appreciate that they are taking credit for them in misleading ways. In interviews and in their investor calls, H&R Block’s CEO has even paraphrased, almost verbatim, my statements about pricing strategies. Happy Tax has invested significant time and money into marketing our convenient, professional and transparent solution, and we will pursue all appropriate legal avenues to protect our brand from false and misleading statements and unfair competition from industry giants.”
Happy Tax is pursuing monetary damages and injunctive relief under the Lanham Act. The Lanham Act, also known as the Trademark Act of 1946, is the federal statute that governs trademarks, service marks, and unfair competition. Happy Tax has already sought a preliminary injunction to compel H&R Block to cease and desist from making false or misleading statements and stop any use of the false misleading promotions in all forms of media. If the case proceeds, expert witnesses will be employed to quantify the economic damages from false advertising.