WeChat sued for patent infringement

Beijing-based Trunkbow International Holdings has alleged that popular mobile messaging app, WeChat, infringed a patented technology which has been licensed exclusively to the Chinese company.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor on

Trunkbow International Holdings has filed sued claiming popular mobile messaging service, WeChat, used its patented technology. 

According to a Tech Sina report on Friday which cited Chinese newspaper First Financial Daily, an attorney from Trunkbow said WeChat had infringed the "Online Yellow Pages" patent, which was first filed by the founder of Trunkbow in 2009 and licensed to be used by Trunkbow exclusively after it successfully registered the patent.

The technology enables location information to be associated with the Yellow Pages, which allows users to obtain relevant information in the vicinity of their location via a mobile terminal.

WeChat, which was launched in early 2011, offers a similar function. Users with mobile terminals installed with WeChat can locate people in the vicinity who are also using the same app. Trunkbow deemed this to be in violation of its exclusive rights. There are 300 million WeChat users worldwide. 

Established in 2001, Trunkbow is a mobile payments services provider based in China and has been listed on Nasdaq since February 2011.

Li Qiang, CEO of Trunkbow, told First Financial Daily that the company has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in a Chinese intermediate court in Shandong province. The court has accepted the case and trial is scheduled to begin on May 8.

Chinese tech giant Tencent, which owns WeChat, said it had not received the notice from the court and declined to make further comments.


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