Interestingly, Match has been wanting to acquire Bumble and even made a $450-million offer last year to buy online dating site.

Tinders parent company Match Group sues dating app Bumble for patent infringement
Atom Legal Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 09:34
Written by  S. Mahadevan

There is a new lawsuit on infringement of patents and copyrights filed by one online dating site on another. Tinder, owned by the Match Group, is the company that has filed two lawsuits in Waco, Texas claiming damages for copying its proprietary technology and the accused in this case is Bumble, another online dating site. Interestingly, the founder Bumble used to be the co-founder Tinder.  

Another interesting fact in this case is that the Match Group wants to take over Bumble and has already made an offer to that effect. This is the reason, many see the lawsuit as being a pressure tactic, making Bumble not just accept the takeover offer and get out of the legal wrangle. There has been no reaction so far from Bumble. The entire 45-page appeal, filed in the Texas court, is in the public domain.

The accusation runs on two counts: One is there is a feature on Bumble, swipe-to-connect, the design patent for which, the Match Group claims is with it. The other is that Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick, who were executives with Bumble had worked at Tinder and have stolen confidential information from the Match Group.

Match claims that early Bumble executives Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick, who both previously worked at Tinder, stole confidential information related to proposed Tinder features. This includes Tinder’s idea for a feature that lets users go back if they accidentally skip someone, according to the suit.

After filing the lawsuit, the Match Group has issued a statement in which it has claimed that it has invested a lot in technology and they have the right to protect their intellectual property rights and to enforce their patent rights. The have said some of these technologies are cutting edge and proprietary in nature, leaving no scope for any third party to exploit.  

As mentioned, the present case cannot be brushed aside as yet another dispute over the ownership of technology between 2 companies, since there is some special background to this lawsuit. The offer made by the Match Group for Bumble was $450 million. But before that, Whitney Wolfe Herd who founded Bumble had filed a lawsuit against Tinder and Match, on sexual harassment charges and she had quoted the then CMO of Tinder of having made sexist comments, which amounted to unacceptable behavior. It was reported that the case got settled out of court for $1 million.   

With 22 million people having signed up with Bumble, the company was expected to post a topline of $100 million in 2017. The majority shareholding in Bumble is actually owned by a Russian entrepreneur, Andrey Andreev, who owns another online sating site and possibly, Match can hope that it may be in a position to net both the sites, Bumble and and consolidate its position in the online dating arena.