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JDate Acquires JSwipe

The rival Jewish dating companies, once embroiled in a trademark legal battle, have agreed to a merger. Love wins.

Hannah Vaitsblit
October 16, 2015

Just as the legal skirmish between two most popular online Jewish dating sites was getting interesting, a truce has been called. Well, it’s more like a takeover. On Wednesday, Spark Networks, owner of (and a slew of other dating websites) announced its acquisition of Smooch Labs, owner of the popular dating app JSwipe. As a result, the legal dispute, in essence a battle over a letter of the alphabet and overlapping software, will now be dropped by both sides. Love wins, I guess.

In August, JDate decided to sue JSwipe, claiming the the company’s use of the letter “J” infringes on JDate’s patented software that “confidentially determines matches and notifies users of mutual matches in feelings and interests.” In response, JSwipe’s founder, David Yarus, launched an Indiegogo campaign, titled “David vs. Goliath—Keep JSwipe alive!” Citing JDate’s $50-million-a-year corporate backer, Yarus foresaw “$300,000 to $500,000 in legal fees…ON TOP of the hundreds of thousands already billed.” The fundraising campaign, which closed on August 29, was not successful.

But Yarus has since sung a different tune; likely, I imagine, because he was offered a heck of a lot of money. Post-acquisition, it seems, that all’s well that ends well (or at least ends, well, profitably). Of the acquisition, Yarus said, “It was clear that we share the same mission and our combined know-how will help us better serve the Jewish community into the future. Everyone at Smooch Labs is excited to join the Spark team, expand their capabilities, and work together to spark Jewish love across the world.”

CEO of Spark Networks Michael Egan, who last accused JSwipe of “misrepresentation,” “theft,” and “brazen attempt to build business on the back of JDate,” has also since changed his tune. “We’re very excited to welcome the Smooch Labs team into Spark,” Egan said. “They’ve created a fantastic mobile application that helps young Jews meet and form meaningful relationships, and together with JDate, our leading Jewish focused dating platform, Spark is now able to significantly build on its mission to strengthen the Jewish community through dating and marriage.”

The terms of the deal were not disclosed but it’s fair to say that it was enough money to make the marriage happen. So there you have it kids. All’s fair in love and war.

Hannah Vaitsblit is an intern at Tablet.

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