According to a filing submitted by Triller Inc. on Wednesday, the claims of three patents belonging to Beijing-based ByteDance Inc. and its subsidiaries TikTok Inc. and TikTok Pte. Ltd. (together ByteDance) are unpatentable. The motion for judgment on the pleadings asserts that the patents’ 20 claims are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 for effectively claiming an abstract idea.
The instant case for declaratory relief brought by ByteDance in October 2020 is one of two the parties are engaged in. It was filed after Triller brought an infringement case last summer alleging that the Chinese companies illegally used its proprietary technology by offering stitched-together short-form videos synched with audio files.
This week’s 31-page filing argues the claims do not pass muster under the Supreme Court’s two-step framework for determining whether claims are invalid as abstract. First, Triller contends that the claims are directed to the idea of “organizing human activity in a computerized social network.”
This is abstract, the defendant asserts, because the claims fail to either solve a problem in a technical field or set forth an improvement in a technical field. “The technical features recited in the claims are merely invoked as tools for providing a computerized social network,” the filing explains.
The motion then groups the claims into seven classifications. For each, Triller asserts that pursuant to the two-step test, nothing therein transforms them to something more than merely abstract ideas. For example, Triller’s designated “Group Three” claims specify that “‘the software application is a music application’ and then add the requirement to ‘use track meta-data to make sharing and browsing of track information possible without needing to distribute the related music track files.’”
Triller asserts that the use of metdata was well-known and conventional at the time the patents were issued. Over the revised complaint’s added factual allegations, Triller argues that the Group Three claims “do not represent a solution to the problem of how to transfer music or large data sets across wireless networks.” Instead, the defendant contends, they merely describe “a conventional computer feature, namely the use of meta-data, that facilitates the sharing of a particular type of information over that social network, namely information about music.”
Accordingly, Triller requests that the court enter judgment on the pleadings dismissing the asserted claims. The hearing is scheduled for October 8 before Judge Jeffrey S. White.
ByteDance Inc. and TikTok Inc. are represented by Fish & Richardson P.C. Triller is represented by Feinberg Day Kramer Alberti Lim Tonkovich & Belloli LLP and Workman Nydegger.