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Traditional Jewish law prioritizes efficiency and community, especially for small towns, above the unforgiving capitalistic forces of creative destruction.
But, there are exceptions to rules forbidding competition between Jews.
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Under the current IP regime, it is possible for Jdate to hold intellectual property over any software the discreetly matches two people based on their interests.
This patent more or less covers every dating site on the Internet, and possibly many social network sites, which also use a secret algorithm to confidentially suggest “matches”.
“From a Judaic ethics standpoint this lawsuit is inappropriate,” argues Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, Dean of the Institute of American and Talmudic Law, regarding competition between Jdate, Jswipe, and other Jewish dating sites.
Jewish law, he tells the Ferenstein Wire, permits unlimited competition for services essential to the continuation of the faith.
In other words, the existence of Jswipe (and other Jewish dating startups that use similar technology) increases the number of Jewish couples, which means more Jewish babies.
There is extensive biblical case law regarding competition between Jewish businesses, which is largely designed to protect small towns from economic civil war.
Jewish law, for instance, might forbid an enterprising jew from opening up a new matzah-making shop across the street from a fellow Jewish baker, because the first baker with the existing establishment could claim “You are destroying my livelihood” (as explained by the traditional Jewish text).
So, Jdate’s lawyers probably don’t have the matzah balls to actually file lawsuit against a well-funded dating site, such as Tinder or Okcupid, with an army of lawyers at their disposal.
But, going after smaller startups, like Jswipe, is much easier, especially if a tiny company has to concede the case for purely financial reasons.American patent law has a different standard for trademark infringement.Legally, Jdate might have a viable trademark and patent case against Jswipe, thanks to the quirky American intellectual property system.Yet, it’s hard to make the claim that it’s because Jswipe uses the letter “J”.