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

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

6 hours ago

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

Weibo IPO below expectations, raises $285.6 mn

Apr 17, 2014

Sina Weibo sold fewer shares than expected in its US IPO which was priced below expectations ahead of a Thursday listing that takes place after tech selloffs on Wall Street.

'Chief Yahoo' David Filo returns to board

Apr 17, 2014

Yahoo announced the nomination of three new board members, including company co-founder David Filo, who earned the nickname and formal job title of "Chief Yahoo."

User comments : 0

More news stories

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.