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Bumble asks court to rule Tinder patents invalid

The two companies seemingly hate each other

TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2018 - Day 2 Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Bumble and Match Group aren’t going to be friendly any time soon. Today, Bumble responded to Match Group’s lawsuit from earlier this year that claimed the dating app stole a trade secret from Tinder and ripped off two of its patents. Bumble says in a filing today that these claims are invalid and should be dismissed. The motion comes amid a long, contentious relationship between the companies, including an open letter ad in The New York Times published earlier this year in which Bumble called Match Group a “bully” and an aggressive countersuit.

Bumble filed its $400 million countersuit against Match earlier this year alleging that the dating app conglomerate acted interested in purchasing Bumble to acquire trade secrets and that it purposely filed its lawsuit to make Bumble unattractive to other potential buyers. At the time, a Match Group spokesperson told Recode:

This lawsuit is a petulant and meritless response to our patent 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.

Meanwhile, the response issued today outlines Bumble’s case for dismissal. The company essentially says the patents, which involve users swiping cards and mutually selecting one another, as well as part of the dating app’s interface are invalid. Bumble essentially claims that these patents are abstract, and therefore are not able to be exercised in this case. It compares the digital matchmaking process to a human matchmaker and stresses that a human could do what Tinder patented, thereby making it too broad to implement. Match Group’s lawsuit also focused on the swiping interface, which Bumble alleges isn’t original or worthy of patent protection.

We’ve reached out to Match Group for comment and will update when we hear back.

Match Group and the dating apps are always mired in drama. Match is also now contending with a separate lawsuit from Tinder co-founder Sean Rad, who’s claiming the company purposely undervalued Tinder in an effort to avoid paying out lots of equity. The company has yet to respond to that case. Bumble as a company also spun out of a lawsuit in which founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, who also co-founded Tinder, sued Match over alleged sexual harassment. That case was settled out of court with Herd leaving the company.