Square avoids trial, settles with Washington University professor

A professor at Washington University in St. Louis has received part of a $50 million settlement after a five-year fight over who developed the Square credit-card reader. Robert Morley Jr. has served on the university’s engineering faculty since 1981, and he bested two of St. Louis’ best-known entrepreneurs in the dispute over Square.

The case was scheduled to go to trial this week before the settlement was reached on Monday.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. However, San Francisco-based Square recorded a $50 million charge related to the settlement last month in a regulatory filing.

Founded by Jim McKelvey and Jack Dorsey, Square sued Morley’s REM Holdings 3 in 2010 in U.S. District Court, claiming McKelvey’s name wasn’t included in the patent for Square. St. Louis native McKelvey said he came up with the idea for processing credit cards with mobile devices and contacted Dorsey about developing the invention in 2008. McKelvey met with Morley in 2009 to develop a prototype.

In 2014, Morley sued the Square corporation for unfairly cutting him out of the business after he developed Square’s key software. His lawsuit alleged that he alone invented the Square card reader.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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