Bumble has filed a counter lawsuit against Tinder’s parent company Match Group.
The move comes in response to Match Group’s lawsuit accusing Bumble of patent infringement, specifically with swipe-based matching (see patent) and undoing a “left” swipe. It may seem like a movie plot, but no, this is real life. We’ve entered the war of the dating apps.
Match Group owns Tinder, along with Match.com, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, and other dating apps. Its lawsuit was filed earlier this month and prompted Bumble to buy a full-page ad in the New York Times calling out the company’s “scare tactics.”
“We swipe left on your attempted scare tactics, and on these endless games. We swipe left on your assumption that a baseless lawsuit would intimidate us. Given your enduring interest in our company, we expected you to know us a bit better by now,” the ad read.
The 22-page lawsuit includes specific details on Match Group’s interest in and relationship with the Bumble. For example, the lawsuit cites Match Group’s $450 million offer back in June 2017 and describes Match Group CEO and CFO meeting with Bumble in November 2017.
“But after a period of inaction, Match suddenly backtracked and said that it had decided not to make another offer to invest. The parties amicably suspended negotiations. At this point, it became clear that Match’s strategy was to wait things out in the hopes of getting a stake in Bumble for below fair value,” the lawsuit reads.
Bumble’s lawsuit lists several causes of action:
Tortious interference with prospective business relations
Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act
Business and commercial disparagement
Related to that last cause, Bumble’s lawsuit cites that it has “suffered special damages, as the disparagement by Match has chilled the market for an investment in Bumble.”
This is far from Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd’s first legal battle. She had filed a lawsuit against her former employer Tinder, alleging sexual harassment, back in 2014. She founded Bumble shortly thereafter, which differentiated itself from other dating apps by only allowing women to initiate conversations.
Herd and her fellow executives could not comment directly on Match Group’s lawsuit, but in an interview with Mashable earlier this month, Herd suggested her team would file against it.
“We are going to tell our full side of the story in court, and we feel confident in that,” Herd told Mashable.
“Whoever it is we do end up partnering in with the future, another company or individual, or going at it alone and pursing an IPO at some point, we will do whatever speaks to the brand values,” Herd told Mashable. “Our brand and our values come before our bottom line.”
Match Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.