Tinder received an early Valentine’s day note in the form of a lawsuit from a lesser known web developer named WildFireWeb.
For those of you coupled folks hopefully unfamiliar with the service, Tinder is a free dating app for your smartphone where users receive a profile comprising a picture (although you can upload several pictures) and a little information about a potential match within a designated radius of their location. The user “swipes right” if they are interested in the person, or “swipes left” if they want to pass. If the user “swipes right” on the person, and the person also has swiped right on the user, then miraculously this dating app has created a match and the two can message each other through Tinder’s system. You otherwise cannot converse with another Tinder user unless you both swiped right on each other’s profile. Somewhat of a modern version of trying to talk to an attractive person at a bar without actually having to be there and a bit easier way to tactfully avoid an undesired admirer. If you need more information (or a laugh), Conan O’Brien and Dave Franco’s comedic look at Tinder is worth a view.
Tinder, Inc. owns a trademark registration for TINDER for “downloadable software in the nature of a mobile application for internet-based dating and matchmaking; downloadable software in the nature of a mobile application in the field of social media, namely, for sending status updates to subscribers of web feeds, uploading and downloading electronic files to share with others.”
Its app icon appears like this:
WildFireWeb owns a prior trademark registration for TINDER for “Application service provider (ASP) featuring software for use in editing and creating web-site content; computer services, namely, editing websites for others; application service provider (ASP) services featuring software for use by others to create photo galleries, news feeds, blogs, advertising, and standard web content in hypertext markup language (HTML) on web sites; application service provider (ASP), namely, hosting computer software applications for others.”
WildFireWeb‘s “about Tinder” page currently looks like this, and according to Archive.org, they have been using the reddish orange and fiery dot on the “i” since at least February 2012, prior to Tinder’s application being filed:
For a web development company that apparently works with small businesses and youth programs, any potential for association with developing the “Tinder” app – a program that for many may be associated with casual relationships or “hookups” – is likely a very negative association for them. However, Tinder’s dating app appears to do very different things than a CMS system, it’s not accessible via the Tinder website (you need to download the app), and maybe written using a different programming language than HTML.
How do you think this one will shake out? Are you swiping left (no) or right (yes) on infringement?