Intuit Inc. on Monday sued H&R Block Inc. to stop a television advertisement it said copies one of its own, in a battle between two large providers of tax preparation software.
Intuit, which makes TurboTax, accused H&R Block, which makes TaxCut, of infringing the copyright of its “No More Tax Stores” ad.
The federal lawsuit comes in the homestretch of the main U.S. tax filing season, with a looming April 17 deadline for most Americans to file their income tax returns.
Calls to H&R Block were not immediately returned. H&R Block is the largest U.S. tax preparer.
In a statement, Intuit said H&R Block’s ad “copies the physical appearance, dress and mannerisms of the characters in the TurboTax ad, as well as the set, staging and pace of the advertisement.”
H&R Block in the ad also made misleading statements about services that both companies offer, Intuit said.
Intuit spokesman Rob Lanesey said his company filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. A copy of the complaint was not immediately available. Intuit is based in Mountain View, California, and H&R Block in Kansas City, Missouri.
H&R Block has had other struggles this year.
The company restated some financial results to fix how it reported its own taxes.
It also faces separate lawsuits by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer accusing it of steering customers to high-fee retirement accounts, and by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer accusing it of charging excessive rates on loans to tide poor customers over until they get their refunds.