Recently, a Jewish dating app called JSwipe has come under fire from dating site JDate for “stealing” (heh) its idea of using J* for the purposes of bringing Jews together for romance. JDate is owned by Spark Networks, which also runs ChristianMingle, BlackSingles, and other specialized sites. They are trying to claim ownership of an idea, which while technically a debated concept among libertarians, is usually opposed. I should note that my older half-brother is a JDate success story.
In my view, the concept of owning an idea is absurd. I am sympathetic to those who believe in it (being an idea and content creator myself), but it makes no sense. The mere fact that two people can independently come up with same idea refutes it. Why should the first one to implement it get a monopoly? We would never tolerate this in a physical industry, such as restaurants (altho a youthful me wanted it). A low prohibiting McDonalds and Burger King from being within, say, a mile of each other would be ridiculous. The two can be very profitable near each other, and might even be more profitable near each other than apart because (with other businesses) it creates a destination.
JDate is a website that works like your typical dating site. You make a profile, look at nearby singles, and can like and message. It also requires a paid subscription for more features. It has proven profitable, with Spark earning $50 million a year. It is without doubt that they face competition from JSwipe (and old fashioned dating), and now they seek rent for existing.
JSwipe, meanwhile, works like Tinder, which is a smartphone app where you make a small profile with some pictures and short bios, and then swipe left for dislike and swipe right for like. If two people swipe each other right, they are matched(!) and allowed to message each other. Tinder usually was used for casual sex, but apparently has more than a few marriages attributed to it. JSwipe adopted this model (and as far as I know has not been sued by Tinder, who have a less illegitimate case) and successfully got 350,000 people to use their app. To the best of my knowledge, it was not used for hookups as much as Tinder.
JDate claims that they should own a monopoly on the use of J* and bringing Jews together online for romance. This, of course, is ridiculous even under standard intellectual “property” law. They say that only they should be able to run software that “confidentially determines matches and notifies users of mutual matches in feelings and interests.”. I guess a lot of websites and apps, such as Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and OKCupid owe them money. Not to mention, other Jewish dating apps and websites they havent sued.
It appears that that Spark wanted to buy JSwipe and didnt offer enough, so to force the creator back to the bargaining table, they filed a lawsuit. Legal experts say their case is shaky. It also completely violates Jewish law. According to the Talmud, businesses are not supposed to compete with each other too closely. However, another view says that perpetuating the “tribe” carves out an except (oh, us and our skirting our own rules). Indeed, the famed Maimonides said that two schools could compete across the street because it would help education. Since you can broadly state that any business helps perpetuate us, any business can directly compete. Indeed, it is well known that competition helps everyone. As far as I know, the Torah itself does not forbid competition.
JDate also claims that they should own J* as a trademark for businesses. Its a little late for that considering the multitude of J* Jewish organizations. Perhaps the most notable is the lobbying organization JStreet, which promotes lies about Israel while claiming to be pro-Israel. They have yet to be sued and my spiteful side hopes they are. How JDate can claim this, especially this late in the game is unreasonable.
Unfortunately, now JSwipe has to put together resources to fight this nonsense in court. They are not run for much profit and are currently crowdfunding for support. The United States also does not have a loser pays law, which would be one of the greatest civil court reforms. The hope in a lot of suits like this is that the victim will either shutter up or settle (or sell). How they expect JSwipe to settle is beyond comprehension. One really wonders what kind of wicked person has a job where they effectively extort businesses legally. This is yet another example of how the socialists beloved government allows the big to pray on the small. Its almost as if there is a case for “Marxist capitalism” *shudder*
You can support JSwipe in their legal battles.
Support JLibertarians 😉 on Patreon or give some satoshis: