TikTok Sued For Patent Infringement In Individualized “For You” Feed

On Wednesday in the Western District of Texas, 10Tales, Inc. filed a complaint against TikTok alleging that the defendant infringed one of its patents through use of a “recommendation system” within TikTok’s “For You” feed.

The patent-in-suit is U.S. Patent No. 8,856,030 , entitled “Method, System and Software for Associating Attributes within Digital Media Presentations.” 10Tales claimed that it has developed “innovative technology used to deploy advanced storytelling through the use of 10 second videos submitted by a network of friends that become shared experiences among the friend network.” According to the complaint, this patented technology helps to customize a user’s storytelling and sharing experience.

Specifically, claim 1 of the patent describes a “server-based software system for associating user attributes with digital media attributes and creating a user specific composite digital media display.” TikTok purportedly infringed this technology through its creation and use of a “recommendation system.” For example, using the patented technology which analyzes “how a user interacts with other users in an online social network in order to determine that user’s affinity for certain digital media content,” in conjunction with an algorithm “to create a user specific composite digital media display for a specific user.” 

According to the plaintiff, TikTok’s “For You” feed utilizes a “recommendation system” and, as TikTok claimed, its “For You” feed “is a user specific composite digital media display – that is, ‘each person’s feed is unique and tailored to that specific individual.’” TikTok added that the “feed is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.” 

TikTok also allegedly uses “attributes from a social network system,” including information about what the user shares, accounts the user follows, and the user’s comments in order to select and recommend specific content; this information can be taken from other social media networks when a user decides to link or connect their accounts. 10Tale proffered that TikTok takes the information about attributes and applies it with the algorithm to create the user’s tailored “For You” feed. As a result, 10Tale averred that TikTok has infringed its patented technology to create this individualized feed.

10Tale, represented by The Davis Firm, PC. and Cozen O’Connor, has sought declaratory judgment in its favor, an award for damages, and other relief.