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TikTok Sued for Infringing on Image Embedding Patents

Tiktok app logo on a smartphone.

Bangkok, Thailand - August 22, 2019 : iPhone 7 showing its screen with TikTok and other social media application icons.

On August 14, Pixmarx IP LLC filed a complaint against TikTok Inc. for infringement of three of Pixmarx’s registered patents relating to how digital content is embedded within a digital photograph. In the Western District of Texas lawsuit, Pixmarx accuses TikTok of infringing, both directly and indirectly, each of the patents-in-suit.

Pixmarx describes the defendant, TikTok, as owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based internet technology company founded in 2012. TikTok is a video-sharing social networking service users access via mobile application that surpassed 1 billion users globally in August, according to the filing. The TikTok app allows users to “create short videos of themselves, often featuring music in the background,” that can be “sped up, slowed down and/or edited with a filter.”

According to the complaint, Pixmarx is a Texas-based company. The patents-in-suit were developed for the Pixmarx application which was first offered by Apple through its App Store in November 2013.

The complaint avers that the patented technologies at issue “consist of ordered combinations of features and functions that, at the time of invention, were not, alone or in combination, well-understood, routine, or conventional.” Specifically, the patents are concerned with “displaying an embedded digital image, [] picture, text, or the like, within an image viewing structure [] of a digital imaging device prior to and during a photograph being taken using the digital imaging device.” They also “introduce the concept of providing embeddable content .., based on a digital imaging device’s location.”

In exhibits attached to the complaint, Pixmarx explains how TikTok directly infringed on its proprietary technology by using the same methods prescribed in its patents. TikTok’s app, it avers, copies its patented processes that allow embellishment of digital files with special effects and overlays on top of the original content.

Pixmarx also contends that TikTok “indirectly infringed … by inducing direct infringement by TikTok customers and end users.” Pixmarx requests declaratory relief and damages, including royalties to compensate it for TikTok’s supposed infringements.

Pixmarx is represented by Nelson Bumgardner Albritton PC.

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