It looks like a titanic legal struggle has been avoided. Mobile payments startup mPowa has responded to a cease-and-desist letter from Square by taking down a photo on its home page that Square said was swiped from its site.
You can read more the dispute in yesterday’s post, but basically, Square’s lawyers said it was “clear and obvious” that mPowa had copied Square’s image. mPowa CEO Don Wagner, on the other hand, told us that Square was just trying to “divert” the company’s focus. At the time, he wouldn’t say how mPowa would respond, but we heard that the company was probably just going to take the photo down.
And yes, that’s what mPowa has done, replacing one generic hand sliding a credit card through a payment device with another generic hand sliding a credit card through a payment device. (You can see the new image at the top of this post.) In its press release, the company doesn’t admit to any wrongdoing, making sure to describe Square’s complaints as “alleged”, and it has a little fun with the fact that this whole argument is about a photo of a hand. (To be fair to Square, the hand photos look awfully similar, as you can see below.) The press release is titled, “mPowa extends ‘hand of peace’ to Square,” and it includes this paragraph:
“Rather than resorting to a legal tussle over the issue, mPowa decided to extend a fresh hand in peace, replacing the allegedly offending hand with another. The company hopes this generous gesture will pour oil on the troubled cross-Atlantic waters, and that it can now go back to doing what it does best, delivering mobile payments to its customers.”
I’ve emailed Square for comment and will update if I hear back.