Match Group has been planning to acquire Bumble.com for quite some time now. However, this time the approach they are using for this acquisition is quite unconventional. Match Group is suing Bumble for alleged patent infringement. Match Group has a very large dating services portfolio which has some very popular services like Tinder, Match.com, OkCupid, and PlentyOfFish in their bag.
Bumble is an online dating service that focuses on women initiating conversations between users. It was founded by one of the co-founders of Tinder, and it is being sued for infringement on two of its patents, one called “Matching Process System and Method,” in which users swipe cards and mutually select one another, as well as, “Display Screen or Portion Thereof with a Graphical User Interface of a Mobile Device.” Match Group is also claiming that Bumble executives Chris Gulcznski and Sarah Mick, both of whom were former Tinder employees, stole “confidential information related to proposed Tinder features,” which also includes the idea for a feature that allows users to go back if they by mistake skip someone, according to the lawsuit.
The new patent infringement lawsuit was filed on Friday in the U.S. district court in Waco, Texas.
A Match Group spokesperson sent Recode the following statement: “Match Group has invested significant resources and creative expertise in the development of our industry-leading suite of products. 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.”
Tech companies file lawsuits for patent infringement all the time. However, Bumble and Match Group go way back in this respect. Earlier, Match Ghad tried to acquire Bumble for $450 million, which was turned down by Bumble. According to the speculation, this lawsuit could be a means of pressuring Bumble to reconsider that offer for obvious reasons, because if Bumble becomes a part of Match Group, Match cannot accuse it of a breach of copyright or patents.