Have you ever swiped right on a dating app? If you answered yes, then you’ve likely used Tinder or Bumble. If something about the two apps feel eerily familiar, you might agree with the lawsuit that Tinder filed in March of 2018, against their swiping (right for ‘yes,’ left for ‘no’) competition, Bumble.
According to the lawsuit, Tinder’s parent company alleges that Bumble is all but a clone of Tinder and has, therefore, stolen its “trade secrets and infringed on their legal U.S. copyright.” Specifically, that Bumble parroted their “world-changing, card swipe-based, mutual opt-in premise.”
In response, Bumble has countersued Tinder for a host of things, including fraudulently stealing company secrets and is asking for a $400 million settlement.
Background of the Bumble and Tinder’s Founders
Though the similarities in swiping technology could seem incidental, the history of connectedness between the two companies is worth noting.
Bumble was created after Tinder, by Whitney Wolfe and a co-creator. However, Wolfe started her career at Tinder, during its origins and worked as a marketer and creator, being given the title of co-founder and vice president of marketing. It is said she was behind Tinder’s logo and even its name. Her job also involved getting sign-ups at college campuses and events. Sparks soon flew as she and one of Tinder’s co-founders, Justin Mateen, fell in love.
However, their love was not to last and, after about a year, their break up led to text messages (from Mateen to Wolfe) which Wolfe considered harassment. Though the text messages at the time state she would not sue, she later changed her mind and filed a lawsuit alleging sexual discrimination and harassment, resulting in settlement of $1 million, paid to Wolfe in 2014.
Fast forward several years to 2017-2018, when Bumble’s parent company, Match Group, expressed an interest in acquiring Bumble. As time heals old wounds, Wolfe had moved on with a lavish wedding, and acquisition of Bumble seemed a sign of peace. Instead, as those talks progressed over a time span of about six months, Match Group was reportedly dismayed to find Bumble was also in the negotiations with other companies.
Bumble alleges that Tinder’s lawsuit is an outright attempt to sour the public and private views of the company and make it less ‘attractive’ to buyers.
More serious, perhaps, is that during the period in which the two companies were in talks, Bumble alleges that Match Group was shown confidential information under the guise of it facilitating a higher financial offer. Bumble’s lawsuit shows that the financial offer never came and accused Match Group of using the private info they obtained from their app businesses.
Lastly, Bumble alleges that Tinder intentionally “published false or disparaging information about Bumble, including statements in the press falsely claiming that Bumble infringed Match’s intellectual property, as well as false statements in the Lawsuit.”
How much does Bumble want in payment from Match Group? A whopping $400 million and an injunction to protect any of the private information Match Group or its associates “acquired.” According to statements Match Group has provided to TechCrunch,
“This lawsuit is a petulant and meritless response to our patent, trademark, and trade secret claims. Last week, Bumble claimed our complaint was baseless and won’t affect them, and this week they claim it is “chilling” the sale of their company.
They also shockingly claim that our patents issued by the United States Patent & Trademark Office are “bogus.” We obviously think their lawsuit has no substance and look forward to proving that in court. – Match Group.”
We will see what the courts decide for the two companies.
In the meantime, don’t let it impact your dating and swiping!