MuzMatch, one of the biggest and most influential Muslim dating apps with a total of 5 million global members and 150,000 successful marriage stories, is going head-to-head legally with a US-based dating powerhouse, Match Group, which filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement.
Founded over a decade ago by Shahzad Younas, a British-Asian Muslim, MuzMatch was established as a pioneering marriage website for single Muslims all over the world.
Unfortunately, the Muslim-owned brand will face off against Match Group, the parent company of renowned dating apps such as Tinder, Hinge, and OKCupid, at a hearing at the UK Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court (IPEC) in London this month.
Younas expressed his concern, and reason as to why the brand was established in the first place.
“The whole reason why we exist is that they don’t serve our market and never have. Our markets are separate, and it actually hurts us to be confused with Match Group and Tinder, so we defend the brand, hence why we go to trial,” he said.
He further defended the brand by stating the fact that Match Group does not have a monopoly over the word “match” in dating searches.
The company said the brand’s name is a play on the words “Muz'” for Muslim and “Match” for matchmaking, with the company’s prime objective to provide an online platform for all single Muslims to meet the halal way and get married.
MuzMatch, a start-up online dating app established in 2015 with a valid US registration in place for the wordmark ‘MuzMatch,’ was initially an online matchmaking site that created its progressive and dynamic trajectory from its humble beginnings.
Despite being deemed as a valid wordmark in France and Germany, Match Group opposed the company’s EU trademark registration, insisting they stop using the name, which MuzMatch heavily refused, although they made some visual changes to its branding.
MuzMatch caters to a very specific minority target demographic that most brands don’t serve: single Muslims who are looking to get married without putting their religious values and boundaries at risk.
As a legal tactic to take over the company, Match Group initiated the first of four takeover offers for MuzMatch in 2017, with the final offer coming through in 2018 for $35m, which the brand refused to accept.
Later in 2019, Match Group purchased Harmonica (known as Hawaya), an Egyptian matchmaking app that is a direct rival of MuzMatch.
Months later, they filed a suit against MuzMatch at the IPEC, claiming a trademark infringement around the use of the MuzMatch brand. This came before following up in March with a separate suit in the United States alleging patent infringement around the app’s use of the swipe gesture, as well as cyber-piracy in relation to the branding.
“For the U.S. lawsuit, we started to defend ourselves, but it becomes very expensive in the U.S.,” Younas clarified.
“We’re a start-up, we don’t have that kind of money, and in the end, it didn’t make sense for us to try to fight them in the U.S.. So, in more of an economic judgment, we settled with Match Group to close that off,” he added.
With the existence of various dating apps like Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, Match, eHarmony, and the likes, it is almost impossible to distinguish from one app to another due to them all having similar features that are optimized for the best user experience. The only difference between all of the dating brands are their respective objectives and brand names.
Most dating apps — if not all — opt for the swipe gesture as it is easy, efficient, and provides the ability for users to make fast-paced decisions. Tinder might be the pioneer for the invention of the swipe gesture, but it is no longer unique after hundreds of applications replicated the same type of user interface.
As quoted by Younas himself, the word “match” in dating searches cannot be monopolized by Match Group, as it is one of the most essential and commonly used words to describe a match-making service.
Above all, unlike any other global dating service around the world with the same goal of providing a platform for all single individuals, regardless of race, religion and sexual orientation to meet and fall in love, MuzMatch caters to a very specific minority target demographic that most brands don’t serve: single Muslims who are looking to get married without putting their religious values and boundaries at risk.