Match Group, the web courting firm that owns companies like Tinder and Match.com, desires to purchase Bumble, one other fashionable courting app that lets ladies make the primary transfer.
However Match could also be attempting to push the deal alongside in an unconventional manner: A brand new patent infringement lawsuit filed late Friday in U.S. District court docket in Waco, Texas.
Match Group is suing Bumble, which was based by one in every of Tinder’s co-founders, for infringing on two of its patents, together with a design patent for Tinder’s now-famous swipe-to-connect function, in keeping with the go well with.
Match additionally claims that early Bumble executives Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick, who each beforehand labored at Tinder, stole “confidential data associated to proposed Tinder options,” together with the concept for a function that lets customers return in the event that they by chance skip somebody, in keeping with the go well with.
A Match Group spokesperson despatched Recode the next assertion.
Match Group has invested vital assets and artistic experience within the growth of our industry-leading suite of merchandise. We’re dedicated to defending the mental property and proprietary information that defines our enterprise. Accordingly, we’re ready when essential to implement our patents and different mental property rights in opposition to any operator within the courting house who infringes upon these rights.
Representatives from Bumble couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.
Tech firms file patent infringement lawsuits on a regular basis — BlackBerry simply sued Facebook for patent infringement final week.
However Match, Tinder and Bumble have an extended and fascinating historical past.
Most not too long ago, Match made a suggestion to purchase Bumble final summer season for $450 million, in keeping with TechCrunch. One supply tells Recode that Match is nonetheless keen on buying Bumble, which suggests this lawsuit might very nicely be a bargaining chip — albeit an unfriendly one. The simplest strategy to make it a patent infringement go well with go away can be to affix the corporate that owns the patent.
Some sophisticated early historical past: Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd was additionally a co-founder at Tinder earlier than she filed her own lawsuit in opposition to Tinder for alleged sexual harassment in 2014. Herd additionally claimed within the go well with that she was stripped of her co-founder title as a result of then-CEO Sean Rad informed her “having a younger feminine co-founder ‘makes the corporate appear to be a joke.’”
She finally settled the go well with for “roughly $1 million,” in keeping with Forbes.
Since its founding in late 2014, Bumble has established itself as a critical participant on this planet of on-line courting. The service makes use of the same swipe-to-match function as Tinder, however requires ladies to ship the primary message. Bumble has greater than 22 million customers and was on tempo for greater than $100 million in income in 2017, in keeping with Forbes.
Badoo, one other courting service owned by Russian entrepreneur Andrey Andreev, is Bumble’s majority proprietor, with a 79 % stake. CNBC reported in January that Badoo had employed JP Morgan to assist it discover a potential purchaser for the entire firm. Presumably, Badoo and its different courting companies can be included in any deal for Bumble.