Recode is reporting that Match Group, which owns Tinder, Match, and other online dating services, is suing one of its biggest competitors, Bumble, for alleged patent infringement. Bumble is an online dating service that requires women to initiate the conversations between users.
Bumble was created by one of Tinder’s co-founders, and Match Group is alleging that Bumble infringed one two of its patents. One of those was Tinder’s famous swipe-to-connect feature. The lawsuit also claims that two of Bumble’s early executives, Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick, stole “confidential information related to proposed Tinder features,” such as the ability to let users go back if they accidentally skipped over someone they were interested in. Both Mick and Gulczynski worked at Tinder prior to moving onto Bumble.
“Match Group has invested significant resources and creative expertise in the development of our industry-leading suite of products,” a Match Group spokesperson told Recode. “We are committed to protecting the intellectual property and proprietary data that defines our business. Accordingly, we are prepared when necessary to enforce our patents and other intellectual property rights against any operator in the dating space who infringes upon those rights.”
Patent lawsuits are a way of life in the tech world, but Bumble and Match Group have some history together. Most notably, Tech Crunch reported that Match Group tried to buy Bumble for $450 million. There is some speculation that this lawsuit might be a means of pressuring Bumble back to the negotiation table. After all, if Bumble is part of Match Group, then it can hardly be accused of infringing on Match Group’s copyrights or patents.
Issues of lawsuits aside, Match Group’s properties have borrowed from Bumble in the past. For example, we recently reported that Tinder was in the process of developing a feature that requires women to make the first move just like on Bumble. That being said, Tinder’s implementation of this feature is a bit different than Bumbles as it is not a mandatory part of the app. Women will be able to opt into the feature, but they won’t be required to make the first move if they do not want to.