Muslim dating app ‘riding on coattails’ of Match, High Court hears

Muzmatch describes itself as the ‘world’s biggest community for single Muslims’.

Jess Glass
Monday 17 January 2022 16:15 GMT
A computer mouse and keyboard (Adam Peck/PA)
A computer mouse and keyboard (Adam Peck/PA) (PA Archive)

A dating app for Muslims has been accused of “riding on the coattails” of internet dating giant in a High Court trademark claim.

Match LLC, which owns the dating website and Tinder is suing Muzmatch and its founder, former Morgan Stanley banker Shahzad Younas, over alleged trademark infringement.

Muzmatch, which describes itself as the “world’s biggest community for single Muslims”, was accused of “piggybacking on established dating brands” to improve its success.

Muzmatch and Mr Younas are disputing the claim in a two-day trial at the High Court in London.

Tim Austen, for Match, said his client’s site was “one of the best-known dating sites in the world” and was the Guinness World Record holder for the largest online dating service when Muzmatch was launched in 2011.

He argued that Mr Younas “actively sought to freeride on the fame and goodwill of the Match business” and that there was a plain risk of confusion.

Muzmatch has ridden on the coattails of Match for too long

Tim Austen

In written submissions, he said: “This is a clear case of freeriding on the repute of the UK market leader in order to become a major player in the online dating and introductions market.”

The barrister said this included the use of font styles that imitated Match’s branding, as well as the use of “muslim-match” as part of its website to help it appear more prominently in internet searches.

He added that Muzmatch previously admitted to infringing the Tinder trademark by describing its app as “Muslim Tinder”.

Mr Austen told the court: “We say (Mr Younas) obviously sought to engender a link to Match”, later adding that the claim was “a clear case of parasitism”.

He continued: “Muzmatch has ridden on the coattails of Match for too long.”

Jessie Bowhill, for Muzmatch and Mr Younas, argued there was no evidence that consumers had been confused between the two dating sites.

“If (the) case was well-founded, there would be a wealth of examples of consumer confusion, but there’s none,” the barrister told the court.

She later highlighted other dating sites that used the word “match” in their names, including “Senior Match”, and “Positive Match, herpes dating online”.

The court later heard Match had made four offers to acquire Muzmatch.

“It was only after those repeated attempts failed, and upon the claimants acquiring a third-party Muslim matchmaking app, re-branding it and then launching it in the UK, that these proceedings were brought,” Ms Bowhill said in written submissions.

Royal Courts of Justice (Nick Ansell/PA)
Royal Courts of Justice (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)

She continued: “There has been a very long period of co-existence between the mainstream matchmaking services provided by the claimants under the brand, and the niche matchmaking services provided by the defendants to the Muslim community under the Muzmatch brand.

“Many millions of interactions have resulted.

“Yet there has not been one single instance of genuine confusion.”

The barrister added that the public can distinguish between the use of the word match “in the context of the well-known brand and its use in the niche context of Muzmatch, a specialist matchmaking service for Muslims”.

The trial in front of Nicholas Caddick QC is due to end on Tuesday with judgment expected at a later date.

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