It’s no secret that Tinder and Bumble are really similar products. Both are, of course, online dating apps, and in the last few years, some of the features on each have seemed to mimic the other. To make things even more tense, Bumble‘s founder is Whitney Wolfe Herd, who used to work at Tinder — she launched Bumble after leaving the company and suing them for sexual harassment. So it’s not that surprising that Tinder is now suing Bumble.
Fortune reported on March 19th that Match Group, the company that owns Tinder, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in a district court in Texas, saying that Bumble has “infringed on two Tinder patents.”
This basically means that Tinder is accusing Bumble of copying some of its designs.
Match Group also says that some of Bumble’s features were “learned of and developed confidentially while at Tinder.” The lawsuit alleges that two of Bumble’s co-creators, who worked at Tinder before launching Bumble, stole information from the company to use for their own business.
The lawsuit comes at an interesting time: Match Group has been trying to buy Bumble for a while now, with no luck, so suing for copyright infringement may be a hostile attempt to move that deal forward. (Uh, swipe left on that.) Basically, the easiest way to make a patent infringement suit go away is to force Bumble to join the company that owns the patents.
From an outsider’s point of view, it’s true that there are similarities between the two apps. Bumble uses the same idea Tinder does — swiping through potential matches quickly and efficiently. Both apps do have similar interfaces; the main difference is that Bumble uses a “ladies first” policy, which means that a man can’t contact a woman unless she has approved of his profile first. This is a feature that Tinder incorporated into one of its newest updates.
It seems like this is one lawsuit that might get a little ugly. A spokesperson for Match said that the group “has invested significant resources and creative expertise in the development of our industry-leading suite of products” and is “prepared when necessary to enforce our patents and other intellectual property rights against any operator in the dating space who infringes upon those rights.” Yikes.
As of right now, Bumble has not released a statement, but we’ll be keeping an eye on the case as it proceeds.