With recent news breaking of Sway House (and ex-Sway House) members, Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson, Noah Beck and Anthony Reeves departing TikTok for competitor app Triller, the app has been the name on everyone’s lips…and it looks like the competition is heating up.
Although we have come to know TikTok as the major player in the short-form video and music overlay space, it seems Triller were actually first to patent the technology. As Business Insider reports, Triller has alleged that ByteDance (the Chinese-owned parent company of TikTok), is pirating Triller’s patented technology, which allows the use of audio tracks to edit videos together. The feature in question is the Green Screen video capability, which allows users to record on top of an existing video, layer them and sync both with the music.
The specific technology, Triller claims it applied to patent in 2015, which was approved in 2017 by the US Patent & Trademark Office. With TikTok launching worldwide, with the same (if not, very similar) technology in 2018, “Triller has filed a patent infringement lawsuit” against Tiktok and parent company ByteDance,” reports TechCrunch. The suit has been filed in the US District Court for the Western Division of Texas and claims infringement on Triller’s patent, which is inclusive of “systems and methods for creating music videos [synchronised] with an audio track.”
As Triller CEO, Mike Lu told Business Insider, TikTok paid a number of creators to not post on Triller, which he describes as neither ethical or legal… “If every 200B company could just pay their customers to not join a startup competitor, entrepreneurship in America would die and no new companies would ever exist,” he said. He followed by saying Triller plans to add an alleged antitrust violation to the existing suit.
Despite Dubsmash and the not-yet-released Instagram Reels feature, utilising similar technology, Triller is targeting TikTok as it’s biggest and most direct competitor. Plus, with TikTok coming under fire for data privacy concerns, resulting in the app being banned in some countries, it is an increasingly uncertain time for the dominant video-sharing app.
However, it’s not all big wins for Triller — as the company sues for patent infringement, it is simultaneously coming under fire from the National Music Publishers Association for not having licensed all the music on its platform, despite having public partnerships with the likes of Warner Brothers Records, Sony Music and Universal Music.
Whichever way you look at it at this point, it’s getting complicated.