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VeriFone’s Sail mobile-payments platform was clearly a Square wannabe from the beginning — now it seems that’s more true than we initially thought.
VeriFone apparently lifted significant chunks of its user agreement from Square, GigaOm’s Ryan Kim has discovered. While there are other competitors similar to Square, like PayPal’s Here and Intuit’s GoPayment, VeriFone is a latecomer to the mobile credit card swiping game. I gave Sail flack for not bringing anything new to the market, but today’s revelation makes it even clearer that VeriFone is more interested in following Square than doing anything truly original.
When I notified VeriFone that wholesale portions of its user agreement had been copied from Square Tuesday afternoon, the company promptly deleted about a third of its user agreement – including most of the offending text. The SAIL agreement went from 10,525 words and 43 sections to 6,452 words and 25 sections with a couple mistakenly numbered twice.
VeriFone then sent along a statement, saying, “While many legal documents tend to use and reuse industry-acceptable language, we took your feedback into consideration and have made revisions to the agreement so that there is no misunderstanding.”
While a seemingly good excuse, Kim points out that Sail’s user agreement lifted very specific portions of Square’s. A section regarding how the services handle account histories is identical, save for “Sail” replacing every reference of Square. After Kim’s inquiry, that section and others like it were removed from Sail’s agreement.
Square is still deciding how to respond to the news. Sean Kane, a lawyer at the firm Pillsbury, tells Kim that Square could conceivably sue VeriFone for copyright infringement, though that rarely happens when it comes to user agreements.
We’ve asked for further comment from VeriFone, and will report when we hear back.