Earlier this month, Tinder’s parent company sued dating app Bumble for allegedly using its patented profile-swipe mobile feature. Bumble first hit back with a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News and the New York Times. Now it has filed a legal complaint accusing Match Group of improprietous behavior.
The suit alleges that Bumble is eating into Tinder’s market share—and that Match is so threatened by this it has launched an offensive to slow it down. Per the suit: Match allegedly courted Bumble for a potential acquisition, during which time it asked to look over business strategy and performance-related information. In return, Match would raise its financial offer. The suit says Match held onto this information, but did not return with the promised offer. Instead, the suit asserts, Match “embarked upon a tortious and fraudulent campaign against Bumble.”
The suit says that despite being in active discussions with Match, the company never alerted Bumble to a forthcoming suit. The Bumble suit suggests that Match Group sued Bumble over the use of its patented swipe functionality to effectively kill negotiations between the two companies and lower Bumble’s market value.
Bumble’s complaint calls Match’s patent lawsuit “frivolous,” arguing that the patent has an extremely narrow definition, one that is not relevant to Bumble’s implementation of the swipe-right, swipe-left function. Bumble is now seeking $400 million in damages and full disclosure on who has come into contact with the information Bumble provided to Match confidentially.
The new suit shines a light on Match Group’s much under-discussed stranglehold on the dating economy as it once again battles a smaller player.
I’ve reached out to Match and will update if I hear back.