Some might call it poetic justice, but that might jumping the gun a bit too early. In a trial held at the East Texas Federal District Court, a notorious site for many patent lawsuits, a jury unanimously declared Apple guilty of infringing on “patent holder” VirnetX’s patents in Apple’s VPN on Demand feature as well as FaceTime and iMessage. More than that, however, the jury handed down a hefty sum of $625.6 million in damages. In comparison, Samsung is paying, somewhat, Apple $548 million in patent design damages.
Apple’s tussle with VirnetX has been going on for nearly four years now. The fact of the matter is that courts, whether the initial trial court, the appeals court, or this district court, have actually found Apple guilty of infringing on several patents held and licensed, but not used, by VirnetX. The recent cases no longer really revolve around that but on how much Apple owes VirnetX.
The initial count was $368 million in damages alone, with a 1% royalty on iPhone and iPad revenues. That, however, got overturned in 2014 when an appeals court declared that VirnetX miscalculated the sum. Now VirnetX went for an even higher number of $532 million, calling out Apple for not playing fair in licensing patents. Apple, for its part, says it is playing fair but VirnetX just keeps asking for more. Sadly for Apple, VirnetX actually got more, with the jury adding another $93.6 million for inflation due to “continued willful infringement”.
Perhaps the verdict wouldn’t be so painful for Apple if VirnetX wasn’t considered to be a “patent troll”, something which it will of course vehemently deny. Such a moniker was coined to refer to companies who hold patents without actually using them except for licensing and suing the pants off other companies. VirnetX has claimed before that it has plans to use those patents in an actual product but has so far not come up with anything concrete. Apple has already lost before to such a patent-holding entity and has expressed disdain for such businesses.
Apple has not yet responded to the verdict but rest assured it is not yet the end of the matter.
VIA: Apple Insider