SACRAMENTO — Tucked into Square Inc.’s May 5 earnings report was a piece of jarring news: The company had paid $50 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Robert Morley, an electrical engineering professor who said he was the true inventor of the mobile credit card-reading device that made the San Francisco startup a multibillion-dollar hit with investors.

In a 2014 complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Morley said co-founders Jack Dorsey and James McKelvey Jr. forced him out of Square and then cashed in on his invention. At the time, a Square spokesman called Morley’s claims baseless and said the company would vigorously fight them. Two years later, Square has paid $50 million to make the accusations go away with no explanation and little more than an aside in an earnings report.

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