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Dating app Tinder’s ‘swipe right’ interface survived an early attack on its patents by rival Bumble Trading Inc.
Judge Alan Albright of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas rejected Bumble’s claim that two patents owned by Tinder’s parent company, Match Group LLC, are not eligible for patent under Article 101 of the Patent Law. Bumble, a dating app for women co-founded by former Tinder employees, had argued that the patents were about the abstract concepts of matching and selecting cards from a stack.
Match’s patents cover a user interface that presents dating profiles as a stack of cards, with the user’s “swipe right” gesture indicating a positive preference and the left gesture indicating rejection. Match claims that the Tinder app has revolutionized the world of online dating. He sued Bumble, which is designed for women who want to take the first step, for allegedly breaking its technology.
“The court considers that these claims sufficiently improve the existing interface technology to survive a
Section 101 dismissal motion, ”Albright wrote in a Dec. 17 order. He noted that the Federal Circuit has issued three opinions this year confirming the patent eligibility of user interface improvements.
The “swipe right” enhancement “has been a business success because it has increased a user’s” browsing speed through potential matches “, which is apparently important for a substantial number of people who wish to meet new people. ‘other people via the Internet,’ Albright wrote, citing the language of the Federal Circuit’s January ruling in Basic wireless licenses against LG Electronics.
Federal Circuit precedents, combined with the presumption that issued patents are valid, have condemned Bumble’s motion to dismiss the patent claims challenged at the plea stage. “It is entirely possible that after the discovery and further development of the case, Bumble will succeed in demonstrating that the claimed claims are invalid,” Albright added.
He also rejected Bumble’s request to dismiss Match’s trade secret claims, saying it was too early in the case to rule on them.
Match is represented by a Caldwell, Cassady & Curry team led by partner Bradley Caldwell and associates John Summers and Warren McCarty. John Palmer of Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee was also on the motion.
Bumble is represented by Cooley and The Dacus Firm.