It may surprise some people to know that TikTok competitor Triller was released before ByteDance’s app.
But that’s an important fact to consider today as we learn that the latter, US based, video sharing app has sued Chinese-owned rival TikTok for patent infringement.
The suit names both ByteDance and TikTok and alleges that they have infringed U.S. Patent No. 9,691,429 titled, “Systems and methods for creating music videos synchronized with an audio track”.
According to the complaint, obtained by MBW, TikTok infringed on a feature that allows users to stitch multiple videos together while using a single audio track.
The feature in question, TikTok’s “Green Screen Video” effect, was introduced “on or about December 11, 2019 and “allows users to shoot multiple video takes synchronized to an audio track” according to the complaint.
The 19-page legal document, which you can read in full here here, was filed in Texas yesterday (July 29).
And that’s not all…
According to Triller CEO Mike Lu, the company was “shocked to learn” that TikTok is allegedly “using their influencer funds to pay influencers to actually not post on Triller”, which he suggests is a “serious anti trust violation” and that the complaint will be amended shortly to include this allegation.
“We were shocked to learn TikTok is actually using their influencer funds to pay influencers to actually not post on Triller, in fact to prohibit any posting on Triller.”
Said Mike Lu: “We were shocked to learn TikTok is actually using their influencer funds to pay influencers to actually not post on Triller, in fact to prohibit any posting on Triller.
“It’s neither ethical nor legal in our opinion. If every $200bn company could just pay their customers to not join a startup competitor entrepreneurship in America would die and no new companies could ever exist.
“We will be amending our complaint shortly to include this serious anti trust violation.”
Triller, in which all three major music companies own stakes, has previously raised over $37m.
Its last major funding round came in October last year, when it raised $28m.
Yesterday we learnt that Los Angeles-based Triller is raising between $200m and $300m to fuel its expansion, just as it starts locking in deals to transfer over major TikTok influencers to its platform.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Josh Richards, a TikTok influencer with over 20m followers, was leaving the Bytedance-owned platform to join Triller as an investor and as Chief Strategy Officer.
Earlier this month, following a ban of TikTok in India, Triller announced it had become the No.1 iOS app in the Photo & Video category in the market.
Triller says that, in June, it hit 50 million monthly active users around the world, “surpassing TikTok’s user count when it was sold to ByteDance for $1 billion in 2017″Music Business Worldwide