Bumble's lawsuit isn't a complete surprise — the company took out full page ads last week in The New York Times and Dallas Morning News that made its intention to fight Match Group's allegations very clear. However, there are some unexpected claims in the suit.
Here's what we knew before Bumble v. Match was filed: In the summer of 2017, TechCrunch reported that Match Group was looking to acquire Bumble for $450 million. Bumble did not accept the offer, and Match continued pursuing the company, offering a number reportedly closer to its $1 billion valuation. But no deal was made and, when Match Group filed its patent infringement lawsuit two weeks ago, both the media and Bumble suggested that an alternative motive — a desire to acquire the company — was at the suit's core.
In Bumble's lawsuit, the company tells a more detailed narrative about went down between the businesses after the initial $450 million offer was made:
"Bumble made clear to Match that its initial offer was unappealing. Match requested, and was confidentially provided, information related to Bumble’s monthly active user count, paying user count, revenue projections, female-to-male ratio, marketing spend, and other financial metrics."
Bumble says that it invited Match's CEO and CFO to visit it's offices "believing that Match was acting in good faith." After that, the lawsuit alleges, Match indicated that it would make a higher offer, but later "suddenly backtracked." Match's suit against the app was only filed after the company learned that Bumble was being courted by others — something Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble's CEO, confirmed in an interview with Refinery29 — Bumble's lawsuit says.
In response to the lawsuit, Match Group released the following statement:
"This lawsuit is a petulant and meritless response to our patent and trade secret claims. Last week, Bumble claimed our complaint was baseless and won’t affect them, and this week they claim it is 'chilling' the sale of their company. They also shockingly claim that our patents issued by the United States Patent & Trademark Office are 'bogus'. We obviously think their lawsuit has no substance and look forward to proving that in court."
Whether this is a case of corporate negotiations gone wrong or, as Match claims, a patent infringement incident, will be up to the courts to decide. For now, it looks like each company plans to hash out its claims before a judge.
This article has been updated to include a statement from Match Group.