Match Says Bumble Exploiting Virus Concerns to Delay Patent Case

April 6, 2020, 3:12 PM

Tinder owner Match Group LLC accused Bumble of “hypocrisy” and “opportunism” by allegedly using the Covid-19 crisis for gamesmanship to postpone its online dating patent case in Texas federal court.

Match Group told the court in an April 3 letter that Bumble is “exploiting the country’s COVID-19 crisis” by attempting to delay the case so its request to invalidate the patents at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board could “leap ahead” of it.

Match sued Bumble in 2018 for, among other things, allegedly infringing patents related to its dating app. Bumble challenged the validity of three Match patents at the PTAB, and the board granted Bumble’s requests for inter partes review.

Expert discovery is set to conclude in the Texas case in April, and the trial is set to begin in July. Meanwhile, the three IPR decisions are due in September and November 2020 and March 2021.

Match said Bumble approached it March 18 to discuss a stay in the Texas case, and Match said it “indicated its willingness to discuss scheduling modifications as long as those discussions proceeded in an attempt to resolve COVID-19 issues—including preparing to take depositions by remote connection—and allowed for proceeding to trial on schedule.”

Then on March 31, Bumble told Match it would seek an extension in the Texas case “likely based on the inadequacy of video depositions.”

“At the same time, Defendants sought and took the remote deposition of Match’s expert in the IPR proceedings on April 1, 2020,” Match said.

According to Match, Bumble’s proposed schedule “orders that nothing happen in the case between now and April 30th—while contemplating a window of 7 business days for potentially 14 full days of expert depositions.”

“Given that remote depositions will almost certainly be as necessary in May as they are today, Defendants’ goal is clear: they are simply angling for a 30-day stay now so that, in a month, Defendants will truly need a continuance of trial,” Match said.

Judge Alan D. Albright is hearing the case.

Caldwell Cassady & Curry PC, Gilliam & Smith LLP, and Naman Howell Smith & Lee represent Match. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Cooley LLP, and the Dacus Firm PC represent Bumble.

The case is Match Grp. v. Bumble Trading Inc., W.D. Tex., No. 6:18-cv-00080, advisory to the court filed 4/3/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Brittain in Washington at bbrittain@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

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