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Match.com Is Suing Muslim Dating App Muzmatch For Having 'Match' in Its Name

Match.com is bringing the Muslim dating app Muzmatch to court for copyright infringement.
Match.com is bringing the Muslim dating app Muzmatch to court for copyright infringement. Getty Images
The dating app giant Match.com is suing a startup dating app called Muzmatch, claiming it diverts users because of its similar sounding name.

The Dallas-based company and owner of Tinder and OKCupid claims that Muzmatch, an app designed for people looking to date within the Muslim faith, infringed on its trademark. Match has filed multiple lawsuits that could bankrupt the startup. The trial between Match.com and Muzmatch started Jan. 17 in the London High Court, according to a statement released by Muzmatch.

Match.com executives alleged in court that the "match" in Muzmatch's name attracted followers and users through online searches, confusing the two brands and violating its trademark in the process. Muzmatch owner Shahzad Younas told the court that the "match" only refers to "matchmaking" and not the company's name.

Younas wrote in a blog post on Muzmatch's website that he started his app in 2011 after having no success finding a wife through popular dating apps and "as a side project whilst I was still working at Morgan Stanley."

The first incarnation of the Muzmatch website allowed users to search for potential mates without fees, relying instead on a pay-per-view model to chat with people they found interesting. Three years later, he coded a mobile app for Muzmatch after attracting thousands of users.

Muzmatch tried to register its name as a trademark in 2018. However. Match.com filed an opposition to the attempt just a few months later. The Dallas company claimed in a U.K. Intellectual Property Office application that "the average consumer will wrongly assume an economic connection between the applicant and opponent.

"It claims that use of the contested mark would result in the applicant (Muzmatch) riding on the coattails of the opponent's reputation and enjoy enhanced recognition in respect of the applicant's goods and service offering," the filing reads.

Younas refused to change the brand name or design and plowed ahead with his business plan. Match.com offered Younas a chance to sell his app to them for $15 million. Younas says he refused subsequent offers that reached $35 million after Muzmatch signed its 1 millionth user in 2019.

Match.com responded by purchasing a competing app brand called Harmonica and filed suits against Muzmatch in the U.K. and Waco. Younas says Match is claiming Muzmatch's swipe interface violated its patent on Match.com's apps in addition to trademark name infringements. The U.S. lawsuit was dismissed sometime later.

"If we win? We've wasted nearly £1 million on unnecessary, unrecoverable legal fees," Younas wrote. "If we lose? We will be forced to change our brand name and the name Muzmatch will die. We will likely have to pay material damages."

A Match.com representative could not be reached for comment. 
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.