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Two titans of online match-making—Dallas-based Tinder and Austin-based Bumble—filed dueling lawsuits recently in Texas courts accusing each other of being copycats, among many other things, the details of which allow a glimpse into a torrid corporate love-hate relationship, spawned in part by an even more venomous personal affair.

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Tinder claims the fight is just business. When two people swiped right on each other, it was a match.

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That concept became Tinder, the massively successful dating app. It just makes it look like Tinder was some accident. Despite vowing to stay out of the match-making business, she later recounted to ForbesWolfe struck a deal with Russian billionaire Andrey Andreev—founder of Badoo, the largest dating site in the world, with million users in countries—to back her in building a new dating app that functioned much like Tinder but with one special tweak: Women have control.

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After a heterosexual match, only the woman could contact the man. That new app was Bumble. It went live in Decembergarnered overdownlo in its first month, and has been voraciously gobbling Tinder market share ever since.

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The similarities are what Match Group and Tinder are complaining about in the patent and trademark infringement suit filed by Match Group in Waco federal court on March 16, But with intellectual property, similarity is not always infringement. Lawyers for Bumble claim the lawsuit has nothing to do with patents or trademarks, but rather is an attempt to harm Bumble and retaliate against Whitney Wolfe-Herd who was married last year personally.

Match Group goes out of its way in its complaint to disclaim any personal animus. Some circumstances appear to support that claim.

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Three days after suing Bumble, Match Group filed an almost identical lawsuit in the same court before the same judge against Tantan Ltd. It began:. We swipe left on your multiple attempts to buy us, copy us, and, now, to intimidate us. We swipe left on your attempted scare tactics, and on these endless games.

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We swipe left on your assumption that a baseless lawsuit would intimidate us. Then, on March 28, —only 12 days after Match Group filed its suit—Bumble filed a separate, state-court lawsuit against Match Group with allegations that again make the dispute sound personal, and paint a more sinister picture of Match Group and Tinder.

But Bumble rushed to file its lawsuit, and chose to file a separate lawsuit in state court.

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In its lawsuit, Bumble alleges that Match Group came back again in earlyasking Bumble to reveal its most valuable secrets so that Match Group could make another, higher, offer. Immediately after Bumble shared those secrets, Match Group filed its infringement lawsuit. This is about protecting the integrity of your work.

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At this writing, no answer or other responsive pleading has been filed in either case, and the outcomes are uncertain. Browse all newsletters here. And profitable? Steve Thomas is a business and technology litigator in Dallas.

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