Triller sues TikTok over patent infringement
Rival app Triller has sued TikTok Inc. and its parent ByteDance Ltd. in Texas federal court. Triller has accused TikTok of infringing its patent for stitching together multiple music videos with a single audio track. TikTok was served notice of its infringement on July 27, 2020 via email.
Triller’s complaint in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas says that the TikTok app infringes the US Patent No. 9,691,429, covering systems and methods for creating music videos synchronized with an audio track.
The lawsuit quotes, “Triller alleges that ByteDance and TikTok, directly and indirectly, infringe the Asserted Patent by making, using, offering for sale, selling and importing the popular iOS and Android software application known as TikTok.”
The lawsuit filed by Triller focuses on Green Screen Video a feature that TikTok had rolled out last year. This feature allowed users to shoot multiple video takes synchronized to an audio track. This is presented as an example of infringing use.
It also includes a set of pictures of TikTok’s editing feature and Triller claims that TikTok introduced the features despite knowing that few portions of the Accused Products to be adapted for infringement of Triller’s patent.
In the lawsuit, Triller is asking for an unspecified amount in damages. The company has said that TikTok’s patent infringement has hurt Triller’s growth.
TikTok is not the only company to offer an app with videos synced to an audio track like this, but it is the largest at present among its competitors.
Sensor Tower shows to date, TikTok app has over 189 million US installs, in comparison to Triller’s 23 million+ installs. The other competitor to have more installs than Triller is Dubsmash, with 41.5 million US downloads to date. Lomotif, Likee, and Byte have less popularity, with 21.2 million, 16 million and 2.5 million US installs, respectively.
The lawsuit comes as TikTok and ByteDance, its Beijing-based parent company are facing increasing scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers in Washington, D.C., over its data collection policies and close ties to China’s communist government. The US said it is looking at banning the app.
Asked how Triller plans to finance such a lawsuit, the company responded that it’s backed by some of the largest institutions in the world, and is prepared to take the matter to court.
Triller is funded by Lowercase Capital, Carnegie Technologies, film-production Company Proxima Media, Taiwan’s Fubon Financial Holding Co., and Indonesia’s GDP Venture. Last year, Triller had raised USD 28 million in venture funding, valuing its business at USD 130 million. To date, the company has raised USD 37.5 million. The company this week was also reported to be raising new funds.