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.

Recode – All

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France is suing Google and Apple over ‘abusive’ developer contracts

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France Google Apple developer contracts

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced Wednesday that the government plans to sue Google and Apple over the “abusive” contractual terms imposed on developers through app stores. Le Maire told a radio station that he learned Apple and Google unilaterally impose price changes and contractual modifications on developers in the Google Play Store and App Store, which he views as unfair.

“I believe in an economy based on justice and I will take Google and Apple before the Paris Commercial Court for abusive business practices” Le Maire said, according to Reuters. “As powerful as they are, Google and Apple should not be able to treat our startups and our developers the way they currently do.”

The action is based on an inquiry by the French anti-fraud office from 2015-2017, which uncovered a “significant imbalance” in the relationship between Google, Apple, and French companies, a source told AFP. In its report, the anti-fraud office recommended a fine of $ 2.5 million per company, something echoed by Le Maire, who suggested fines of “millions of euros” might be appropriate.

Large US tech companies have been struggling with regulatory bodies in Europe in the past few years. Tax structures which allow them to funnel all EU profits out of one office (commonly Luxembourg or Ireland) have drawn the ire of the European Union. The French government has been particularly keen to address consumer rights issues, such as the recent iPhone battery problems, while Google has been investigated by the EU over antitrust and privacy concerns.

Apple – BGR

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Is Suing Big Oil for Climate Change

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Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is coming after oil companies, claiming they were “knowingly killing people all over the world” by playing a part in triggering and exacerbating global warming. Schwarzenegger made the announcement on March 11 during a live recording of POLITICO’s Off Message podcast, revealing he was currently in talks with several private law firms to aid with the lawsuit.

“The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill,” Schwarzenegger said on the podcast. He compares the oil companies role in global warming to the tobacco industry hiding the fact that smoking can severely harm people’s health.

And because people should be made aware of how much their lifestyle contributes to harming the environment, he believes any product that was produced, or processed, using fossil fuels (hint: that’s nearly everything we buy) should have a label on it. After all, we’ve done the same with cigarettes, following the signing of the the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009.

“Because to me it’s absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco,” Schwarzenegger continued. “Every gas station [should have a warning label], every car should have a warning label on it, every product that has fossil fuels should have a warning label on it.”

The former governor went as far as to say that ignoring the impacts of extracting and profiting from fossil fuels was comparable to first degree murder: “If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first degree murder; I think it’s the same thing with the oil companies,” he said.

Schwarzenegger didn’t specify which oil companies he intends to sue, but he isn’t the first politician to take aim at those believed to be responsible for global warming. In January, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed his own lawsuit would target fossil fuel companies BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell, stating they each “intentionally misled the public to protect their profits.”

Mayor de Blasio and Comptroller Scott M. Stringer are also planning to divest the city’s pension funds from fossil fuel reserve owners. In 5 years’ time, nearly $ 5 billion dollars could be divested from the city’s $ 189 billion pension funds.

In December, Reuters predicted a series of lawsuits against oil companies. Legal action over climate change damages is underpinned by a growing body of research linking individual oil corporations with specific degrees of global warming. A study from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), published in the journal Climatic Change, found that the carbon emissions linked to the 50 biggest private oil companies, including BP, Chevron and Shell, were responsible for 16 percent of the global temperature rise between 1800 ans 2010.

“We’ve known for a long time that fossil fuels are the largest contributor to climate change,” said Brenda Ekwurzel, lead author and director of climate science with UCS, in a press release. “What’s new here is that we’ve verified just how much specific companies’ products have caused the Earth to warm and the seas to rise.”

The post Arnold Schwarzenegger Is Suing Big Oil for Climate Change appeared first on Futurism.


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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.

Recode – All

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Pennsylvania is suing Uber for up to $13.5 million in penalties for failing to disclose its data breach quickly enough

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The state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the company violated Pennsylvania’s Breach of Personal Information Notification Act.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is suing Uber for failing to disclose that the company had suffered a data breach that affected 600,000 drivers globally within a reasonable time.

AG Shapiro claims Uber, therefore, violated a state law that requires companies to notify consumers affected by data hacks within a reasonable time — it’s unclear what exactly that time frame is. There were 13,500 drivers whose first and last names and license numbers were accessed by hackers in 2016, Shapiro said. Uber did not disclose the breach until November 2017.

The fine for failing to notify consumers affected by a hack is $ 1,000 per person affected, which means Uber could be penalized for up to $ 13.5 million — a small sum for the ride-hail player. However, it’s a clear sign that the ghosts of the company’s past leadership are still haunting its new executive team.

Fresh off settling Alphabet’s self-driving lawsuit against the company, Uber’s new Chief Legal Officer Tony West continues to grapple with a number of legal issues that he inherited. As Uber prepares to go public in the next two years, buttoning up the many lawsuits levied against the company is more important than ever.

“Uber violated Pennsylvania law by failing to put our residents on timely notice of this massive data breach,” Shapiro said in a statement. “Instead of notifying impacted consumers of the breach within a reasonable amount of time, Uber hid the incident for over a year — and actually paid the hackers to delete the data and stay quiet. That’s just outrageous corporate misconduct, and I’m suing to hold them accountable and recover for Pennsylvanians.”

Uber failed to notify some 57 million users that their data — including names, email addresses, phone numbers and driver’s license numbers — was exposed when hackers accessed that information in 2016, CEO Dara Khosrowhshahi revealed in November 2017.

After learning about the breach, Khosrowshahi opened an investigation into how the company handled the incident and fired two people who handled the response process, including Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief security officer.

Instead of notifying users when the company learned of the breach in 2016, Uber paid the hackers $ 100,000 to delete the data they got ahold of and keep the hack quiet. A company spokesperson said, while they’re not making excuses for the failure to disclose the data breach, the new leadership has taken steps to “respond responsibly.”

“We investigated the incident, disclosed the circumstances to state and federal regulators, and reached out to state Attorneys General, including Attorney General Shapiro, to express Uber’s desire to cooperate fully with any investigations,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “While we dispute the accuracy of some of the characterizations in the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s lawsuit, we will continue to cooperate with them and ask only that we be treated fairly.”

Uber did not yet respond to questions about what specifically the company is disputing in the lawsuit.

As Recode first reported, at least five states launched investigations into Uber’s handling of the data breach within days after Khosrowshahi notified the public and consumers that it had happened. At the time, Pennsylvania did not respond to requests for comment.

The city of Chicago also filed a lawsuit against Uber in November 2017 for failing to disclose the data breach. The city has asked a judge to fine Uber $ 10,000 a day for each day that it violated the state’s ordinance on public information disclosure.

This is developing …

Recode – All

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Environmental Activists Are Suing Governments Over Climate Change — and Winning

On Wednesday, the High Court in London ruled the UK government’s current stance on air pollution is “unlawful.” The ruling came about because the government has failed to impose new policies on 45 local authority areas with illegal levels of air pollution. According to the Royal College of Physicians, air pollution contributes to nearly 40,000 deaths in the UK each year.

This is the third court case the UK government has lost to ClientEarth, an organization of environmental activist lawyers. As reported by The Guardian, the new ruling will require clean air policies to be overseen by the courts rather than ministers and local officials.

“The history of this litigation shows that good faith, hard work, and sincere promises are not enough and it seems court must keep the pressure on to ensure compliance is actually achieved,” said Justice Garnham, the judge who heard the case. ClientEarth lawyer Anna Heslop explained in a statement that the initial air pollution issue was meant to be solved 8 years ago, but the government’s failure to implement any solutions has allowed the problem to go unchecked.

While it would be difficult to predict whether the court case will improve the UK’s air pollution problem, it may stand a better chance being monitored by the courts — which have taken note of the government’s past failures to rectify the issue.

The UK isn’t the only country embroiled in lawsuits related to environmental issues, but ClientEarth’s third win in the country could serve as a warning to other nations. If anything, it demonstrates that legal action can successfully promote change; a precedent that could be particularly influential for groups that have, or are considering, perusing legal action against governments over climate change.

As Reuters reported in December, a number of high-profile climate change cases are expected to take place in the United States this year. Similar lawsuits in Germany and Norway could also make headlines. Whether the lawsuits involve governments or fossil fuel companies, each case is aimed at those perceived of either knowingly causing — or failing to take action against the progression of — climate change.

Back in December, eight northeastern states moved to sue the Environmental Protection Agency. The suit sought to require the EPA to enforce new restrictions on Midwestern states generating air pollution, which the east coast states claimed was, essentially, blowing over to its cities.

In January, the state of New York, led by Mayor Bill de Blasio, sued multiple fossil fuel companies for their contributions to climate change through knowingly burning harmful fossil fuels and “intentionally mis[leading] the public to protect their profits.”

At the time, ClientEarth’s Sophie Marjanac told Reuters that there was a trend toward litigation around climate change and that “the lack of political action in the United States may increase that trend.”

One thing is clear: citizens have taken notice that those in charge aren’t doing everything in their power to curb climate change. Those that are simply aren’t making changes fast enough: if recent studies are any indication, we’re running out of time for our actions to make a difference.

The post Environmental Activists Are Suing Governments Over Climate Change — and Winning appeared first on Futurism.


NYC Is Suing Pharmaceutical Companies for Igniting the Opioid Epidemic

See You In Court

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that the city is pursuing legal action against the manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioid drugs. This action is part of a national campaign that seeks to make these companies accountable for their role in the United States’ opioid epidemic.

This strategy is nothing new for Mayor de Blasio. Earlier this month, his administration detailed its plan to sue several of the biggest oil companies in the US, including BP and ExxonMobil, citing the damage they’ve done to the environment by continuing to burn fossil fuels despite knowing the harmful effects.

New York’s lawsuit contends that the present crisis was a direct result of drug companies misrepresenting their product, and distributors flooding the city’s market with opioids. Purdue Pharma, Teva, Cephalon, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen, Endo, Allergan, Watson and various subsidiaries were all manufacturers named in the lawsuit.

More than 90 Americans a day die of an opioid overdose, according to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that opioid adduction, abuse, and overdose cost the nation $ 78.5 billion in 2013. A more recent report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) concluded that the opioid epidemic cost the U.S. economy more than $ 500 billion in 2015. New York City alone has spent millions on healthcare, law enforcement, and treatment programs directly linked to opioid addiction. The legal action aims to recoup some of those expenditures.

“It is a national tragedy,” de Blasio said, as reported by the New York Times. “It’s time for Big Pharma to pay for what they’ve done.”

Wave of Litigation

New York City is one of many major metro areas that are taking opioid drug companies to court. Chicago was among the first to do so in 2014; the lawsuit is yet to be resolved. In January 2018 both Philadelphia and the state Delaware also filed suits, and Oklahoma became the first state to set a trial date after filing its initial claim seven months prior.

Bill de Blasio and his staff compared their efforts to the string of lawsuits leveled against major tobacco companies by state officials in the late 1990s. In the end four tobacco manufacturers were forced to pay out over $ 200 billion in settlements, and a similar scenario could play out for the currently accused drug companies.

In the aftermath of the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, companies were forced to commit to changing their marketing practices. The money states received from the legal settlements was used to offset medical costs and fund anti-smoking campaigns.

The lawsuits that are now being filed against prescription opioid companies could perhaps lead to a similar outcome, but it depends on how these legal battles shake out, and how quickly. At least two of the companies named in the suit — Janssen and Purdue Pharma — have already denied the accusations, so this litigation could certainly be a long, uphill battle that may not yield any dividends.

The post NYC Is Suing Pharmaceutical Companies for Igniting the Opioid Epidemic appeared first on Futurism.


Plaintiff suing Apple for slowing down older iPhones wants Apple to halt its battery recycling program

iPhone Slowdown

With dozens of class-action lawsuits swirling overhead, Apple could have saved itself a whole lot of heartache and money — not to mention bad press — if it opted to be transparent about throttling CPU performance on older iPhone models. Indeed, allegations that Apple was purposefully slowing down older iPhone models with new iOS updates have persisted for years, only to be routinely dismissed as baseless, if not conspiratorial.

Predictably, once Apple confirmed that it does slow down older iPhone models with degraded batteries — all in the interest of preventing unexpected device shutdowns — the class action lawsuits started piling up quickly. It started with two lawsuits in California and has only expanded since then. Currently, Apple faces 40 class-action lawsuits stemming from its decision, however well-intentioned, to slow down older iPhones.

All that said, there’s now a new wrinkle to one of the class-action suits. Earlier this week, the plaintiff involved in the case Harvey v. Apple Inc. filed a motion in pursuit of a preliminary injunction that would would require Apple to temporarily suspend its battery recycling program and preserve all data it obtains via diagnostic testing on older iPhone batteries.

In a statement on the matter, the plaintiff’s attorney, Adam Levitt, explained:

Apple deceived many of its customers into buying brand new iPhones by rolling out its iOS throttling software, causing them material financial damages. Given the ever-changing nature of Apple’s battery replacement program and the critical importance of that diagnostic data to this lawsuit, Apple should be required to preserve that data and produce it to Plaintiff’s counsel. Not doing so exacerbates the problem and further erodes consumers’ trust in Apple.

The motion itself reads in part:

The timing of this program is questionable: Apple denied the existence of a problem with the batteries it installed in millions of iPhones for years, then announced the Defective Battery Program one week after Plaintiff Harvey sued it for fraudulently concealing the existence of defective batteries in Affected iPhones. It then accelerated the program and began removing and replacing those batteries and subjecting Affected iPhones to diagnostic tests. As a result, Class members are handing over evidence from their iPhones to Apple, without any assurance that Apple will not dispose of the replaced batteries or selectively use and/or dispose of the information gathered as a means of trying to avoid liability.

Apple’s internal policies call for it to recycle all iPhone batteries, 5 meaning that the evidence Class members expose to Apple’s data grab is destined for destruction and, thus, spoliation.

The plaintiff’s motion is set to be heard on February 21.

Apple – BGR

The city of Chicago is suing Uber for failing to disclose the breach of 57 million users’ data

The city said Uber did not correct security vulnerabilities in its system as it agreed to after a previous data hack.

The city of Chicago has filed a lawsuit against Uber for failing to disclose a 2016 data breach that affected 57 million of its users.

The lawsuit comes just days after the Illinois attorney general’s office told Recode that it was opening an investigation into the company.

In addition to failing to notify users and the public about the information that was exposed, the company paid the hackers $ 100,000 to delete the data and subsequently had them sign nondisclosure agreements. The city further alleges that the ride-hail company failed to correct security vulnerabilities that led to a previous data breach in 2014.

The complaint reads:

“After the details of Uber’s May 12, 2014 data breach were revealed to the public, Uber was investigated by a number of state and federal regulators that were concerned about its inadequate data security practices. Uber ultimately promised to bolster its data security policies by, inter alia, adopting protective technologies for the storage, access, and transfer of private information…less than a year later the same failures led to a breach that was one thousand times worse.”

The city, which is also suing Uber on behalf of Illinois residents, is asking for a series of monetary damages in addition to a jury trial. The city has asked that a judge fine Uber $ 10,000 a day for each day that it violated the state’s ordinance on public information disclosure.

The city is also asking for the court to levy a $ 50,000 fine against the company for violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act.

In addition to Illinois, at least four other states — Massachusetts, Missouri, New York and Connecticut — told Recode that they would investigate the matter, after Uber revealed that the intrusion exposed names, addresses and driver’s license numbers in some cases.

Additionally, the company is facing a series of questions from the U.S. Congress over why it took so long to disclose the hack. Some of those lawmakers asked for a full timeline of what the company discovered about the breach.

Others, like Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, who sent his own letter to Uber on Monday, asked Uber how it managed to find the hackers in the first place. Given Uber’s “past pattern of conduct,” Warner wondered if the company tried to “hack back” the hackers, which is illegal under federal law.

We’ve reached out to Uber and will update when we hear back.

Here’s the full complaint:

Recode – All