A professor is suing the payments company Square over charges that he was shut out of the startup he says he helped create.
Robert Morley, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, filed a complaint against Square and its co-founders Jack Dorsey and James McKelvey Jan. 30 at the U.S. District Court in St. Louis.
Morley claims that his longtime friend McKelvey approached him in February 2009 to discuss starting a mobile payments processing business along with Dorsey. Morley, who had over a decade of experience in the credit card industry, says that he proceeded to invent the Square card reader and co-create the technology that decodes algorithms from the Square app.
Dorsey and McKelvey then "betrayed the joint venture by incorporating Square, dictating the ownership of the newly incorporated company, and cutting Dr. Morley completely out of the enterprise," according the lawsuit.
Square plans to fight the lawsuit.
"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," Square spokesman Aaron Zamost writes in an email, referring to earlier litigation between the two parties.
Square sued Morley and his business, REM Holdings, in December 2010, arguing that McKelvey should be named as a joint inventor on the patent for the Square card reader. Morley later countersued.
In the latest lawsuit, Morley accuses Square, Dorsey and McKelvey of charges including breach of fiduciary duty, patent infringement and breach of joint venture agreement. Morley is seeking damages and an order that his name be added to a number of Square patents as a co-inventor.