The woman-founded company has long had a difficult relationship with Tinder owner Match Group, which it accuses of intimidation tactics
No means no.
Last week, Match Group, Inc., which operates dating platforms like OKCupid and Tinder, filed suit in Texas accusing competitor Bumble of patent infringement. Austin Tx.-based Bumble was created by women who had previously worked on Tinder, and Match is accusing them of ripping off its flagship app’s “world-changing, card-swipe-based, mutual opt-in premise,” among other features.
In response, Bumble just published a shade-heavy open letter to Match. “We swipe left on your attempted scare tactics, and on these endless games. We swipe left on your assumption that a baseless lawsuit would intimidate us,” wrote Bumble, which now also includes career and friendship networking options.
Founded as a feminist alternative to the hook-up culture popularized by Tinder, the company went on to advice Match to do better when it comes to combating bad behavior on their platforms. “We as a company will always swipe right for empowered moves, and left on attempts to disempower us,” they concluded.
“Match Group owns various patents that protect our technologies and designs that are deployed throughout our global portfolio. We have these patents because we believe the work you do is incredibly important,” wrote Match CEO Mandy Ginsberg in an internal memo the company released to Moneyish. “This is not about singling out any individual company. This is about protecting the integrity of your work… The least I can do is try and protect it.”
The response is the latest salvo in a long running war betweenTinder, which popularized swiping, and Bumble. In 2014, Bumble co-founder and chief exec Whitney Wolfe Herd filed a legal complaint alleging sexual harassment and discrimination when she was a founding vice president of marketing at Tinder. She left after a difficult breakup with another co-founder and eventually settled the case out of court for a reported $1 million and stock.
But Match apparently really wanted Wolfe and her new company back. Last year, Forbes reported that the dating giant was considering a takeover bid that would value Bumble at $1 billion, just months after Herd passed on a $450 million offer. Bumble hinted at those bids in its recently published blog post, writing that: “We swipe left on your multiple attempts to buy us, copy us, and, now, to intimidate us…We’ll never be yours. No matter the price tag, we’ll never compromise our values.”
Tinder has been under significant pressure after a blockbuster 2015 Vanity Fair article that accused the company of wiping romance off the screen. Still, powered by subscription growth at Tinder, which added 544,000 new users in the fourth quarter of its 2017 financial year, Match Group has reported strong financial results.
But the current climate of female empowerment undoubtedly favors three-year-old Bumble, which popularized requiring women users to begin the conversation, a move it says helps reduce abuse. In a move to make its platform more female-friendly, Tinder last month said that it too would add an option allowing female users to initiate conversations.
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