Engineering prof sues Square over origin story (Update)

Jan 30, 2014

A Washington University electrical engineering professor is suing credit card processor Square Inc. in the latest legal dispute over the company's mobile plug-in technology.

Robert E. Morley Jr. sued Square and company founders Jack Dorsey and James McKelvey Jr. Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The patent infringement suit calls the Square origin story a "fabrication" and says the two men squeezed Morley out of the San Francisco-based company.

Dorsey, a St. Louis native, is chairman at Twitter, the company he co-founded before becoming Square's CEO. McKelvey is a Washington University graduate who still lives in the St. Louis area and whose father was dean of engineering at the university.

Square and its co-founders sued Morley in 2010 in a related patent dispute that's still pending. A company spokesman said Square plans to aggressively challenge the professor's claims.

"It's not surprising that Morley would file another desperate, baseless patent lawsuit given how poorly his initial claims have been received by the patent authorities," said Square spokesman Aaron Zamost. "We will fight it vigorously."

In the complaint, Morley says he contributed the "technological expertise" and credit card industry connections to help launch the company. He claims that McKelvey, whom he mentored, first approached him to discuss an idea for an open source automobile. After balking at that project, Morley claims he told McKelvey to abandon his initial plans to take photos of credit cards for virtual transactions and instead allow cellphones to read the cards' magnetic stripe—a process the professor said he's been working on with industry for the past two decades and for which he holds several patents

Morley is seeking an unspecified amount of damages from a company now worth an estimated $5 billion.

Explore further: Twitter's Jack Dorsey joins Disney board

3.5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Twitter's Jack Dorsey joins Disney board

Dec 23, 2013

US entertainment giant Walt Disney Company announced Monday that it tapped Twitter co-founder and chairman Jack Dorsey to join its board of directors.

Virgin tycoon Branson invests in Square

Nov 08, 2011

Square, a start-up from a co-founder of Twitter, said Tuesday that Virgin tycoon Richard Branson has invested in the mobile payments company.

Twitter co-founder to cut role, focus on Square

Oct 09, 2012

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey said Tuesday he has turned over most operations at the high-flying company as he devotes more time to his other venture, mobile payments firm Square.

Payment startup Square rolls out iPad sales app

May 23, 2011

(AP) -- First, mobile payment service Square made it easier for merchants to accept credit cards anytime, anywhere, with just a smart phone and a tiny, plastic credit-card reader. Now the startup led by Twitter co-founder ...

Starbucks teams with Square for mobile payments

Aug 08, 2012

Starbucks is pouring $25 million into electronic payments start-up Square in a partnership that expands mobile payment options at the coffee chain, the companies announced Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Dish restores Turner channels to lineup

13 hours ago

Turner Broadcasting channels such as Cartoon Network and CNN are back on the Dish network after being dropped from the satellite TV provider's lineup during contract talks.

'Call of Duty' blasts past $10 bn in sales

Nov 20, 2014

Blockbuster military shooter video game "Call of Duty" has blasted past $10 billion in lifetime sales, propelled by demand for the latest installment in the 11-year-old franchise.

Square's point-of-sale service goes global

Nov 20, 2014

Financial services startup Square is taking aim at cash registers across the globe, making its point-of-sale software available internationally in English, Spanish, French and Japanese.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.