Bumble Swipes Left On Match Group Lawsuit With Defiant Full Page Ad

  • Contributed by:
  • Views: 422

The relationship between Bumble and Tinder took a toxic turn last month when Match Group, Tinder’s parent company, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against its female-friendly competitor.

The suit, filed in Texas on March 16, accuses Bumble of copying key elements of Tinder’s functionality and alleges that trade secrets were stolen by Bumble employees who previously worked at Tinder. Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble’s founder and CEO, was herself a Tinder executive before filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company in 2014 and leaving to start her own venture.

Herd was initially silent when news of the Match Group lawsuit broke, but has since responded in grand, defiant fashion with a full page ad in the New York Times as well on their blog.

“We swipe left on you. We swipe left on your multiple attempts to buy us, copy us, and, now, to intimidate us. We’ll never be yours,” reads the ad, an open letter addressed to Match Group.

The missive admonishes Match Group for its “scare tactics,” “endless games”, and the “assumption that a baseless lawsuit would intimidate [Bumble],” then emphasizes the company’s commitment to female empowerment. It adds: Bumble "looks forward to telling its story in court."

Interestingly, the letter steers clear of directly addressing the allegation of misuse of Tinder’s intellectual property. Instead it paints a picture of Match Group as a bully figure that regularly harasses and intimidates startup competitors into accepting buyout offers.

Many have theorized that Match Group’s lawsuit is retaliation for a rejected acquisition offer. Match Group reportedly offered to purchase Bumble for $450 million last summer, but was refused. Match Group, naturally, denies having any ulterior motive behind the filing.

“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 released to several news outlets. “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.”

Herd does not appear to be worried about Bumble’s future prospects. "We’re very excited about other opportunities," she told Refinery29. "We are in talks with several other, very interesting prospects for a potential change of control. I would stay on and take this to the next level whatever that looks like, potentially an IPO, whatever the best future is for us. This was not our only option and we’re very excited about the other prospects at hand."

"We will always place value and positivity and equality and respect above anything, whether that be a business matter or a product matter or a cultural matter,” she continued. “Values come above bottom line."