Muzmatch has lost its high profile legal battle against the Match Group. The firm behind Tinder and Hinge has won a court battle with the British dating app for Muslims after it was accused of copying its product.
The UK intellectual property and enterprise court ruled that the world’s largest Muslim dating app had infringed the trademark of Match Group.
Part of this claim included using keyword tags like “match-muslim” and “uk-muslim-match”, and may mean Muzmatch is forced to change its name.
A Match Group spokesperson told the Guardian: “We are pleased that the court recognised what we have known to be true: that Muzmatch has unfairly benefited from Match Group’s reputation and investment in its brand and was riding Match Group’s coattails for undeserved gain in this highly competitive market.
“We have, and will always protect the work, creativity and innovations of our employees, and are grateful that the court recognised this and ruled accordingly.”
Shahzad Younes, Muzmatch’s Chief Executive, said in a statement: “As you may know, we’ve been in a long court battle with Match Group – the multi billion-dollar conglomerate that owns Tinder – to keep the name we’ve been using since 2011.
“It breaks my heart to say, but today we found out that we’ve lost our case.”
The altercation between Match Group and Muzmatch began after Match Group reached out to the Muslim dating platform in 2016, objecting to their trademark registration for ‘MUZMATCH’. They proposed a settlement agreement if Muzmatch promised not to sell the company to a competitor, which was refused.
In 2017, they reached out again with an offer to acquire muzmatch. Muzmatch said: “It was flattering. Here was the biggest dating company in the world, interested in a little Muslim startup.”
Muzmatch refused the acquisition after four attempts from Muzmatch (maxing out at $35 million) due to differences in valuations, and a misalignment in ideologies for the business moving forward.
However, Muzmatch said: “Since our refusals, Match Group has resorted to the last tool of giant conglomerates with huge legal teams – litigation. This isn’t new for them.
“According to the New York Times, Match allegedly offered to acquire Bumble (their biggest competitor) for reportedly $450 million in 2017, which Bumble declined. The following year Match Group then sued Bumble, calling it a “Tinder-clone”.”
Following the result of the legal battle, Muzmatch said: “This month (April 2022), the judge ruled in Match Group’s favour, stating in his view the word ‘match’ is distinctive of match.com since 2011 (the year muzmatch was born). It’s heartbreaking and frankly confusing.
“The judge did mention that he didn’t believe we were intentionally using Match Group’s brand to our advantage, but this was little consolation.
“It’s a disappointing result, but we’re most worried about the chilling effect this has in the tech industry. What does it say when a multi-billion dollar company can use its weight to stifle competition in this manner? “
It is expected that Shahzad Younes and Muzmatch will appeal the decisison.
Read the full Muzmatch statement here.