Two weeks ago Match Group (Tinder’s parent company) sued Bumble for patent infringement and misuse of intellectual property.
Bumble has now returned the favor by filing a separate lawsuit accusing Match of multiple improprieties in regards to interactions between the two companies over the past few months.
To be clear, this lawsuit isn’t a response to Match’s initial lawsuit, and instead is a separate action raising new allegations against Tinder’s parent company. Bumble had previously published a letter in response to Match’s initial lawsuit, but will presumably also file a a file a separate response to that initial lawsuit, unless a judge decides to consolidate the two cases.
First, the lawsuit acknowledges that Bumble and Match Group were in acquisition talks over the last 6 months, something TechCrunch has previously reported. Bumble alleges that once Match Group found out there were other companies also interested in either investing in or acquiring Bumble, Match Group filed their aforementioned lawsuit to make Bumble less attractive to those other companies.
Secondly, Bumble alleges that during the acquisition process Match Group fraudulently requested that Bumble provide “confidential and trade secret information” which Match Group said they “needed to provide a higher offer for Bumble”. Bumble alleges that no subsequent offer came, and Match Group instead requested and obtained this information solely for “the financial benefit of its dating app businesses”.
Lastly, Bumble is claiming that Match Group disparaged Bumble, which has potentially affected Bumble’s other investment and acquisition opportunities. Specifically, Bumble alleges that Match Group “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”.
The lawsuit requests relief in the form of monetary damages, which Bumble estimates at $400M. Additionally, they are requesting a permanent injunction preventing Match or any affiliates from using any of the obtained confidential information.
While the lawsuit does briefly touch on why Bumble thinks Match Group’s patent infringement claims are frivolous, the main focus is on these new allegations against Match Group.
The whole situation seems messy, as is often the case with lawsuits between two major competitors. It’s all complicated by the fact that Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd was a co-founder of Tinder, and was involved in previous litigation related to harassment and discrimination.
Bumble declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Update: Match Group has provided the following statement 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