US’ H&R Block serves writ on UK firm using identical brand

US tax return processing giant H&R Block has issued a High Court injunction in a bid to stop a London-registered company using its name.

Block, which is based in Kansas City, Missouri, entered the UK self-assessment market last year when it linked up with The Tax Team, the rapidly expanding 28-office business run by chartered accountant Gerry Hart.

The company has ambitious growth plans for its UK operation, but is seeking to protect its position after H&R Block Taxation Services set up a registered office in Finchley Road, London.

A writ issued last week by solicitor Denton Hall seeks an injunction to restrain the defendant from using the words H&R Block.

It also demands that the UK business hand over any promotional material bearing H&R Block logos and reveal its client list.

The writ reveals the importance of branding in the UK tax return market.

No one company has emerged as a dominant force in the fledgling market, although several providers have dropped out after failing to win customers.

Hart said the writ had nothing to do with The Tax Team, which is itself a registered trademark of H&R Block UK. H&R Block Taxation Services was unavailable for comment.

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