In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas on Thursday, Triller alleges TikTok infringed on its patent entitled “systems and methods for creating music synchronized with an audio track.”
In a statement issued after the filing, the CEO of Triller, Mike Lu, said the company is amending the lawsuit to include allegations TikTok is engaging in monopolistic behavior that violated antitrust laws by paying creators on TikTok to not post on Triller.
“It’s neither ethical nor legal in our opinion. If every $200B company could just pay their customers to not join a startup competitor entrepreneurship in America would die and no new companies could ever exist,” Lu said in the statement.
Triller vs. TikTok Complaint For Patent Infringement
A Triller spokesman would not disclose how much money the company is seeking in damages but told FOX Business, “the damage [caused by TikTok] is very large.”
TikTok declined to comment.
The lawsuit is the latest salvo in the short-video social media war that was sparked by the Trump administration’s assault on TikTok. As previously reported, the administration is looking at whether the popular social media company with Chinese parent company ByteDance is surveilling Americans and sharing that information with the Chinese government.
In response to the ongoing concerns, TikTok has taken steps to try and assuage federal regulators. In March it opened a transparency center in Los Angeles to allow U.S. officials to monitor its security and data collection practices. Two months later, TikTok hired former Disney executive Kevin Mayer as CEO to ramp up its appeal to American audiences.
Also in May, TikTok released a statement that parent company ByteDance was now headquartered in the Cayman Islands, a move designed to show U.S. officials it is trying to distance itself from China.
But these measures have been insufficient at stopping chatter that the popular app is a surveillance arm of the Chinese government and a push by the Trump administration to possibly ban the use of the app in the U.S.
Skepticism of the app has also become a bipartisan issue. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced Tuesday that campaign employees would have to delete TikTok off their phones. The U.S. Senate is also moving to enact legislation that would ban TikTok on all federal devices.
Amid the government attack, TikTok is facing new competitive pressures.
As FOX Business was first to report, Triller is now using TikTok’s issues to gain a competitive advantage as the Los Angeles-based company seeks to raise between $200 million to $300 million from investors.
According to the lawsuit, Triller alleges, “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’.”