TikTok may make a comeback in India soon as its parent company ByteDance has filed a trademark for the short-form video app with the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks. It was among the 59 Chinese apps that the government banned in June last year. Shortly after the ban, the TikTok app was pulled from app stores and became inaccessible on Indian networks. Platforms including Facebook’s Instagram, however, integrated a similar experience that was originally available on TikTok to fill its gap for Indian users.
ByteDance filed the trademark application for TikTok with the title “TickTock” on July 6. The application, first reported by tipster Mukul Sharma on Twitter, was filed under the Class 42 of the Fourth Schedule to Trade Mark Rules, 2002, that is meant for “scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto; industrial analysis and research services; design and development of computer hardware and software.”
ByteDance did not respond to a request for comment at the time of writing. This report will be updated when we hear back.
According to media reports, ByteDance has been in talks with the government on bringing TikTok back to the country. The Chinese company also assured officials that it would work to comply with the new IT rules.
ByteDance in 2019 appointed its chief nodal and grievance officer in India. It is one of the key requirements of the IT rules for ‘significant’ social media intermediaries that have over 50 lakh users in the country.
However, despite having the nodal and grievance officer in place, ByteDance-owned TikTok faced the nationwide ban last year for threatening the country’s “sovereignty and integrity” amid border tensions with China.
Months after the ban, ByteDance reportedly had discussions with Reliance Industries for an investment in TikTok to revive its business in the country. That discussion, however, did not help bring any changes.
At the time of its ban, TikTok had around 20 crore users in the country. Those users were attracted by platforms including Instagram and YouTube through their integrated offerings Reels and Shorts, respectively. Some Indian TikTok alternatives also emerged in the market to take advantage of its ban and cash in on the demand for short-form video apps in the midst of the national lockdown.
Earlier this month, PUBG Mobile, that was also a part of last year’s serial Chinese app ban, came back to India as Battlegrounds Mobile India. China’s e-commerce platform Shein that was banned last year is also trying to come back to the country through Amazon’s Prime Day sale next week