Western District of Texas Judge Alan Albright has decided that Tinder’s swipe-based interface amounts to more than an implementation of abstract, unpatentable ideas.
The decision comes as a blow to Bumble, who had argued that picking cards from a stack and matchmaking were not defensible as product innovations.
Whitney Wolfe Herd’s feminist dating app was hoping to have the IP case against it dismissed, but Albright has said: “The court finds that these claims improve existing interface technology sufficiently to survive a motion to dismiss under Section 101.”
Adding: “When a user performs the [swipe] gesture, the interface is modified to both show a new item of information and to automatically remove the first card. These innovations improve existing interface technology.
“This improvement has been a commercial success because it has increased ‘the speed of a user’s navigation through [potential matches],’ which is apparently important to a substantial number of people who are interested in meeting other people via the internet.”
However, he also said: “It is entirely possible that, after discovery and further development of the record, Bumble will be successful in demonstrating that the asserted claims are invalid.”
The judge cited similar cases on user interface improvements which concluded in the innovators’ favour. One such case involved LG Electronics Inc., while another involved Google.
Albright also turned away Bumble’s claim that Match had misappropriated trade secrets, saying that it should be dealt with at a later date.
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