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TikTok in hot water after being sued over patent infringement

The TikTok social media app displayed on a smartphone. File picture: Kon Karampelas/Pixabay

The TikTok social media app displayed on a smartphone. File picture: Kon Karampelas/Pixabay

Published Sep 7, 2020

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Washington - Popular social network and video sharing platform TikTok has been sued for patent infringement.

Rival Triller (less well-known than TikTok to many) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the USA for a video-related patent. The patent in question is US Patent No. 9,691,429.

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This patent is for a method of combining multiple videos synchronised to a single audio track which forms a big part of TikTok’s offering.

In December 2019, TikTok introduced a feature called the “green screen video” feature, which enables users to capture multiple short videos and then synchronise or stitch them together to one song (or audio track).

According to Triller, this feature infringes its US patent and, accordingly, has approached the US courts for an injunction (an interdict) and damages against TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance.

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TikTok has been in many recent headlines over privacy concerns. TikTok has already been banned in India and there are rumours that it will be banned in the USA. According to reports, large US corporations, including Microsoft, are interested in purchasing TikTok for the US market.

However, China's new rules around tech exports mean ByteDance's sale of TikTok's U.S. operations could need Beijing's approval, a Chinese trade expert told state media.

ByteDance has been ordered by President Donald Trump to divest short video app TikTok in the United States amid security concerns over the personal data it handles.

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Microsoft Corp and Oracle Corp are among the suitors for the assets, which also includes TikTok's Canada, New Zealand and Australia operations.

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