In an article published in April 2018 edition of IPPro Patents, David Kurtz discussed the impending lawsuit between dating apps Match Group (Tinder’s parent company) and Bumble claiming patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation from two former Tinder executives, Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick, who now work at Bumble. However, Bumble claims that the suit is “baseless” based on the two companies’ previous history.
Match has a “compelling story that, at a minimum, Gulczynski and Mick misappropriated trade secrets and brought them to Bumble where they were ultimately developed. If Match can present evidence supporting its claims, and Bumble does not have a strong counter argument, then Match is certainly right to make this a trade secrets case,” explained Kurtz.
However, if Match’s lawsuit is found to have been made in bad faith, there could be negative repercussions for the company. “In other words, if the court finds that the claim of misappropriation was made in bad faith, Match could be responsible for paying Bumble’s legal fees,” noted Kurtz. “In the world of litigation, there’s almost nothing worse than filing a claim against another party, and not only losing, but paying the fees of the entity you sued.”
The fact that the two executives in question and Bumble’s CEO were previously employed at Tinder could significantly help Match’s case. “Certainly, it’s a plus for Match, compared with alleging such wrongdoing against a competitor lacking any of their former employees,” said Kurtz. On the other hand, an obvious weakness for Match is that it waited awhile to file its case. “The fact that Match waited so long to file its case is a ‘nonlegal’ factor that calls into question the basis for filing the lawsuit, and may add a heavy dose of skepticism on the part of the court and, if the case gets that far, a jury.”
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