Tinder’s parent company is suing Bumble for patent infringement

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Match Group, the company that holds a large portfolio of dating services, such as Tinder, Match.com, OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, to name a few, and was in talks last year to purchase dating and professional networking service Bumble. According to Recode, Match is still looking to acquire the service, but it’s going about it in an unconventional way: by suing it for patent infringement.

On Friday, Match filed a lawsuit that accuses Bumble of infringing on a pair of patents held by Tinder: one called “Matching Process System and Method,” in which users swipe cards and mutually select one another, as well as “Display Screen or Portion Thereof With a Graphical User Interface of a Mobile Device,” which it describes as an “ornamental aspect” of…

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Tinder’s parent company, Match Group, is suing dating app Bumble for patent infringement

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Match Group wants to buy Bumble. Now it’s also suing Bumble.

Match Group, the online dating company that owns services like Tinder and Match.com, wants to buy Bumble, another popular dating app that lets women make the first move.

But Match may be trying to push the deal along in an unconventional way: A new patent infringement lawsuit filed late Friday in U.S. District court in Waco, Texas.

Match Group is suing Bumble, which was founded by one of Tinder’s co-founders, for infringing on two of its patents, including a design patent for Tinder’s now-famous swipe-to-connect feature, according to the suit.

Match also claims that early Bumble executives Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick, who both previously worked at Tinder, stole “confidential information related to proposed Tinder features,” including the idea for a feature that lets users go back if they accidentally skip someone, according to the suit.

A Match Group spokesperson sent Recode the following statement.

Match Group has invested significant resources and creative expertise in the development of our industry-leading suite of products. We are committed to protecting the intellectual property and proprietary data that defines our business. Accordingly, we are prepared when necessary to enforce our patents and other intellectual property rights against any operator in the dating space who infringes upon those rights.

Representatives from Bumble could not immediately be reached for comment.

Tech companies file patent infringement lawsuits all the time — BlackBerry just sued Facebook for patent infringement last week.

But Match, Tinder and Bumble have a long and interesting history.

Most recently, Match made an offer to buy Bumble last summer for $ 450 million, according to TechCrunch. One source tells Recode that Match is still interested in acquiring Bumble, which means this lawsuit may very well be a bargaining chip — albeit an unfriendly one. The easiest way to make it a patent infringement suit go away would be to join the company that owns the patent.

Some complicated early history: Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd was also a co-founder at Tinder before she filed her own lawsuit against Tinder for alleged sexual harassment in 2014. Herd also claimed in the suit that she was stripped of her co-founder title because then-CEO Sean Rad told her “having a young female co-founder ‘makes the company seem like a joke.’”

She ultimately settled the suit for “approximately $ 1 million,” according to Forbes.

Since its founding in late 2014, Bumble has established itself as a serious player in the world of online dating. The service uses a similar swipe-to-match feature as Tinder, but requires women to send the first message. Bumble has more than 22 million users and was on pace for more than $ 100 million in revenue in 2017, according to Forbes.

Badoo, another dating service owned by Russian entrepreneur Andrey Andreev, is Bumble’s majority owner, with a 79 percent stake. CNBC reported in January that Badoo had hired JP Morgan to help it find a potential buyer for the whole company. Presumably, Badoo and its other dating services would be included in any deal for Bumble.


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Non-practicing entity sues Apple over patent infringement

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Apple is currently facing a patent suit over Siri’s ability to understand language.

According to a piece by Mikey Campbell for AppleInsider, non-practicing entity Portal Communications has filed a patent suit against tech giant Apple over Siri’s ability to understand both voice and text commands. In the suit’s filing paperwork, Portal states that The Intellection Group‘s CEO Dave Bernard initially invented the technology and then transferred it to Portal, leveraging three patents titled “Multimodal natural language query system and architecture for processing voice and proximity-based queries” against the iPhone maker.

If you’re not much for combing through court documents, Campbell describes in simple terms where the patents bump up against Siri’s technology (and to be fair, the ideas do sound pretty similar):

Each patent deals with methods of parsing user queries from natural language patterns into machine decipherable commands, whether they be voice or text. The IP details methods of further processing requests using GPS location data, or other proximity information, to provide a context and environment for narrowing down a response. As a continuation of the ‘645 patent, the ‘654 IP tacks on server-related features like speech conversion modules. The ‘872 patent, itself a continuation-in-part of both preceding patents, adds an accuracy algorithm for ranking responses of a database lookup.

So basically, because Siri can understand prompts in “natural” language and is able to form relevant responses, Portal alleges that Apple is infringing upon its intellectual property.

Campbell goes on to give a brief history of Siri with respect to Portal’s patents, so you can better see how the two line up:

Apple purchased Siri in 2010 when the software was available as a mobile assistant for iPhone. Initially based on Nuance voice recognition and natural language processing technology, Siri advertised its conversational attributes as one of the app’s main draws. Apple integrated Siri into its hardware lineup with iPhone 4S in 2011, some three years after the ‘645 patent was granted. Building on Siri’s foundation, the company expanded the voice assistant’s capabilities to cover device operations, and later installed the feature on other platforms including iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and, most recently, HomePod. Siri in its most recent iteration is powered by Apple’s in-house engines, which draw on artificial intelligence and deep neural networks to complete tasks.

Portal’s paperwork states that pretty much all Apple tech with Siri integration is infringing upon its patents, including iPhones, iPads, the Apple Watch Series 3, HomePod, and more. Strangely, though, Portal also targets devices running operating systems as old as iOS 3.1 without really explaining how those could possibly be infringing in any way (Siri didn’t launch until iOS 5).

For all of this alleged patent ignoring, Portal is seeking compensation to the tune of “damages for infringement with interest, a trebling of damages, court expenses and a preliminary or permanent injunction against products found to infringe on the patents-in-suit.”

For more detailed information regarding this lawsuit, I highly suggest you check out Mikey Campbell’s article here.

Thoughts? Questions?

Do you feel that this case has legs? Share your opinion in the comments!

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BlackBerry is suing Facebook for copyright infringement, and Facebook ‘intends to fight’

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BlackBerry claims that Facebook is using its technology inside WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

BlackBerry, a former messaging powerhouse, is suing Facebook, a current messaging powerhouse, for copyright infringement, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in California.

BlackBerry claims that Facebook “created mobile messaging applications that co-opt BlackBerry’s innovations,” and cite a number of patents that cover things like messaging security and messaging notifications.

The company also says that Facebook is using its IP in a number of its products, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.

In a statement from Facebook’s Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal, Facebook dismissed BlackBerry’s claims and promised to fight.

“BlackBerry’s suit sadly reflects the current state of its messaging business,” the statement reads. “Having abandoned its efforts to innovate, BlackBerry is now looking to tax the innovation of others. We intend to fight.”

Facebook has copied numerous competitor products in the past, from Foursquare check-ins to Snapchat facial features and Stories. But the tech industry evolves so quickly and companies borrow so many ideas from one another that oftentimes these “copycat” products don’t actual merit an expensive, drawn-out legal battle.

But that might be what BlackBerry is looking for here. The company seems to be using its tens of thousands of patents as a kind of business model. Last year, BlackBerry sued Nokia for patent infringement, and won more than $ 800 million in a settlement with Qualcomm. It also sued enterprise communications company Avaya in mid-2016.

Update: A BlackBerry spokesperson sent Recode the following statement about the lawsuit, which includes a response to our suggestion the company may be using patent lawsuits as a kind of business model.

Protecting shareholder assets and intellectual property is the job of every CEO, it is not central to BlackBerry’s strategy however. … We have a lot of respect for Facebook and the value they’ve placed on messaging capabilities, some of which were invented by BlackBerry. As a cybersecurity and embedded software leader, BlackBerry’s view is that Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp could make great partners in our drive toward a securely connected future, and we continue to hold this door open to them. However, we have a strong claim that Facebook has infringed on our intellectual property, and after several years of dialogue, we also have an obligation to our shareholders to pursue appropriate legal remedies.


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Pepe The Frog’s creator sues Infowars for copyright infringement

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Despite artist Matt Furie's attempts to reclaim his Pepe The Frog character from neo-Nazis, his cartoon is still being used by the far-right. He created Pepe in the early 2000s and has described the character as a "peaceful frog-dude" whose true natu…
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BlackBerry sues Facebook over alleged messaging patent infringement

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BlackBerry on Tuesday launched a lawsuit against Facebook, arguing that services like WhatsApp and Instagram deliberately copy features from BlackBerry Messenger, one of the draws of BlackBerry’s once-dominant smartphones.
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BlackBerry files patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram

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BBM for Android app

It feels like it’s been a while since there have been any major lawsuits between major mobile companies, but that’s changing today.

BlackBerry has filed a lawsuit against Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram divisions. BlackBerry feels that Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram have infringed on its patents, claiming that they made “competing applications that improperly used BlackBerry’s mobile messaging intellectual property.”

BlackBerry spokesperson Sarah McKinney shared this statement regarding this new lawsuit:

“We have a strong claim that Facebook has infringed on our intellectual property, and after several years of dialogue, we also have an obligation to our shareholders to pursue appropriate legal remedies.”

According to BlackBerry’s complaint, which was shared by The Verge, its patents include cryptographic tech for protecting users’ privacy, the mixture of mobile gaming and messaging, and user interface features for mobile messaging services like notifcation design, message timestamps, and tagging people in photos. The company is looking to get “redress for the harm caused by Defendants’ unlawful use of BlackBerry’s intellectual property”.

The BlackBerry Messenger platform used to be one of the most popular ways to communicate on mobile devices, but in recent years, services like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have taken over. We’ll have to wait and see what comes of this lawsuit between BlackBerry, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, but considering the parties and platforms involved, it’ll definitely be interesting to see what happens.

Have you ever used BlackBerry Messenger?

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Podcast network TWiT sues Twitter for trademark infringement over social network’s video push

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Twitter has been targeted in a lawsuit from podcast production company TWiT, with the social network accused of trademark infringement and a breach of contract after it started expanding into providing streaming video content to its users.
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Twitter faces trademark infringement lawsuit from podcast network

TWiT, aka This Week in Tech, is suing Twitter. The well-known tech netcast says Twitter has broken a number of written and oral agreements and is infringing on its trademark. The two companies started up around the same time in the mid-2000s, with Tw…
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