In June 2022, a Muslim dating app called Muzmatch was ordered to alter its name as it was deemed too similar to Match.com.
Recently, the Court of Appeal confirmed the earlier decision, claiming that the average consumer would have thought Muzmatch was linked to Match Group, the company that owns Tinder.
Muzmatch’s CEO, Shahzad Younas, criticized the ruling and claimed that the legal action was a “deeply worrying” tactic from Match Group to maintain its dominant position in the market.
Changing a company’s name when it is already established can have serious implications on the brand and its ability to be recognised. Years of marketing will have worked towards a brand under one name, and big budgets will have to be mobilised in order to establish the same level of recognition.
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The court agreed that there was a “likelihood of confusion as a result of Muzmatch’s use of SEO keywords comprising the word ‘match’.” The case has reportedly cost Muzmatch nearly $2m in legal fees and damages. A small fee for a big corporate, but a big hit for a startup.
SEO involves using keywords to make it more likely they will appear when searched for on sites such as google.
Muzz, formerly Muzmatch, launched in the UK in 2015 as an app exclusively for Muslims. The app’s founders claim that Match Group has attempted to purchase their company on four occasions, and that the legal action is an attempt to force Muzz out of the market.
Match Group owns many of the major dating apps used today, including OkCupid, Hinge and Plenty Of Fish. It also merged with Tinder for approximately $3bn in 2017. Match Group has also attempted to acquire Bumble, a dating app where women must open conversations with men first, but failed in its bid.