Dating App Competitor Claims Tinder Stole Its Trade Secrets

DALLAS (CN) – Swipe dating app Bumble is suing the parent of rival app Tinder for $400 million, claiming it deviously took trade secrets under the guise of wanting to invest in the company, then turning around and suing Bumble for allegedly ripping off its app.

Austin-based Bumble Trading Inc. and Bumble Holding Ltd. sued Dallas-based Match Group LLC in Dallas County District Court on Wednesday, claiming the problems started when it “rejected repeated lowball offers” by Match to invest in its platform.

“Match asked for, and received subject to confidentiality obligation, Bumble’s most deeply confidential and sensitive business strategy plans and performance metrics using the false assurances that it needed them so that it could increase its prior offer to invest in Bumble,” the 22-page complaint states. “Mere days after Match received the documents, rather than making the revised offer, Match abruptly, and without warning, broke off negotiations when it filed a frivolous intellectual property infringement suit against Bumble.”

Bumble was founded in 2014 by Whitney Wolfe Herd, who previously worked for Tinder. Bumble sets itself apart from other swipe dating apps by only allowing women to initiate conversations with men.

Match first sued Bumble on March 16 in federal court, claiming misappropriation of trade secrets, patent and trademark infringement. It alleges Bumble built its entire business model cloning Tinder, with its only distinction being women having the only power to start conversations with men.

“Match has behaved in an underhanded and devious way that transcends sharp negotiating practices and rises to the level of an actionable tort,” the complaint states. “Unwilling to pay fair value for Bumble, Match tried to poison Bumble in the investment market by filing bogus intellectual property claims to wrongfully disparage the Bumble platform. Knowing its lawsuit would immediately kill its negotiations with Bumble, Match deviously asked for, and received, Bumble’s most sensitive competitive information – without disclosing that it was already planning to sue Bumble.”

Bumble also disputes claims in Match’s lawsuit that the swipe left and swipe right functionality of Bumble’s app infringes on its trademarks, stating its swipe animation works in “exactly the opposite way” and are not covered by Match’s patents.

Match said Thursday the lawsuit is “a petulant and meritless response” to its intellectual property 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,” it said in a written statement. “They also shockingly claim that our patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are ‘bogus.’ We obviously think their lawsuit has no substance and look forwards to proving that in court.”

Bumble responded to Match’s lawsuit last week in full-page advertisements purchased in The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, calling Match’s claims baseless.

Bumble is represented by Theodore Stevenson III with McKool Smith in Dallas, who did not immediately respond to an email message requesting comment Thursday evening.

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