Match said in a statement that the suit was necessary for "protecting the intellectual property" of its business. However, TechCrunch sources had noted that Bumble turned down Match's offers to buy the company in summer 2017. And when a Recode contact understood that Match was still interested in acquiring Bumble, it's not hard to see the lawsuit as a pressure tactic to make Bumble accept a buyout offer it would otherwise reject. If it doesn't give in, it might have to pay steep damages and change the core functionality of its app. We've asked Bumble if it can comment on the lawsuit.
Bumble isn't done swiping left on Tinder's parent company Match Group. After publishing an open letter excoriating Match, the women-focused dating app has filed a lawsuit against Tinder's owner, accusing it of stealing trade secrets, among other things. Match started the legal battle when it sued Bumble for allegedly violating its patents, but TechCrunch says this isn't Bumble's response to that lawsuit -- it's a separate one altogether. In the complaint, Bumble argued that the patent lawsuit is baseless but admitted that the two were discussing acquisition over the past few months. It said that when Match found out other companies were interested in either acquiring Bumble or investing in it, Match filed that patent lawsuit to make the dating service less appealing to rival buyers and investors.
When Jessica Johnson opened new Tinder, Bumble and Hinge accounts at the same time last year, she wasn't looking for romance. She's made it clear on the sites that she is happily married. She just wanted to find some new friends. "I was just looking for new people to grow and thrive with," says Ms. Johnson, a realty coordinator in Atlanta. She had met her husband on Tinder, making her familiar with the app.
Match says its lawsuit is anything but baseless -- detailing, in hundreds of pages of court documents, numerous similarities between the two apps. In the process, Match has accused Bumble of "almost every type of [intellectual property] infringement you could think of," says Sarah Burstein, a professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law whose research focuses on design patents. One of the central questions revolves around Tinder's patented system for connecting people over the Internet. The matching is based on mutual interest, as expressed through a swiping motion.