Muslim dating app Muzmatch loses trademark fight with Tinder owner

UK start-up may be forced to change name after ruling by London court

Muzmatch founder Shahzad Younas says the court ruling by could have a negative effect on the online dating industry. Courtesy Muzmatch

Muslim dating app Muzmatch has lost a trademark fight with Match Group, with a London judge ruling it infringed Match’s copyright with the use of its name.

Lawyers for Match Group, which owns Tinder and Hinge as well as Match.com, accused Muzmatch at a court hearing in January of “free riding” on its reputation to become a major player in the online dating market.

A judge agreed, concluding on Wednesday that Muzmatch’s various brands and logos were “misrepresentations” and could lead people to assume that the app was connected with Match Group’s products.

“Muzmatch was, in effect, taking some of the benefit of that reputation and of that investment and was doing so without paying for it,” Judge Nicholas Caddick said in a written ruling. Muzmatch now risks losing its name unless it appeals against the decision.

Match Group has been at odds with Muzmatch for some time, having successfully challenged Muzmatch’s trademark registrations in the EU and the UK since 2016.

The group had made several attempts to buy the Muslim dating app between 2017 and 2019, Muzmatch’s lawyers said at the January hearing.

Muzmatch’s brands and logos could lead people to assume that the app was connected with Match Group’s products, a judge concluded. Photo: Muzmatch  

“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,” a spokesman for Match Group said in a statement.

Muzmatch was set up by Shahzad Younas in 2011 as a side-project from his Morgan Stanley investment banking job to help single Muslims find marriage with a focus on Islamic values.

“It’s a disappointing result, but I’m most worried about the chilling effect in the tech industry,” Mr Younas said in an email. “What does it say when a multibillion dollar company can use its weight to stifle competition?” The company said it is exploring its options for an appeal.

Updated: April 20, 2022, 2:06 PM
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