TikTok Maker Sued for 2.274 billion RMB for Copyright Infringement and Trade Secret Misappropriation in China
On April 30, 2021, Meishe Technology (美摄科技) announced it has sued Beijing ByteDance Technology Co., Ltd., Beijing Weibo Vision Technology Co., Ltd. and affiliated entities for computer software copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation relating to ByteDance’s Douyin app (the Chinese version of TikTok) and other apps. Meishe is requesting a public apology and 2.274 billion RMB (~$351 million USD) for damages and expenses. Meishe Technology was established in 2014 and provides mobile video, audio, and image processing, recognition, and deep learning, etc.
Meishe alleges that version 3.0 and later of Douyin released on November 1, 2018, copied video and audio editing and processing software code from Meishe Technology’s copyrighted beauty photo software. Further, six other apps by Bytedance have traces of code plagiarism, many of which have the same function names and even misspelled code copied from Meishe source code.
Meishe states, “Video and audio editing and processing functions are one of the most basic and core functions of the Douyin app. Based on these functions, several apps such as Douyin have gained hundreds of millions of users and have been downloaded billions of times and obtained huge profits from infringement.”
Meishe did not release a copy of the court filing or other information as of the time of publication.