Apple’s prolonged patent battle with VirnetX was believed to be coming to an end back in August, but a new ruling out of an east Texas court this week brings bad news for Apple…
As reported by Reuters, a federal judge in Tyler, Texas yesterday night ruled that Apple must pay $302.4 million in damages for infringing upon VirnetX’s patents with services like FaceTime and iMessage.
VirnetX, a notorious patent troll, initially started coming after Apple in 2010. In 2012, the company was awarded $368.2 million in damages, but that ruling was partially overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals due to discrepancies in how the jury was instructed to calculate damages. Then, earlier this year, Apple was ordered to pay $625.6 million in damages to VirnetX, but again, that ruling was voided because the “repeated references to the earlier case could have confused jurors and were unfair to Apple.”
Finally, the most recent ruling covers damages on two VirnetX patents on which Apple was already found to infringe. The $302.4 million amount is in line with what VirnetX was demanding.
The case isn’t closed just yet, though, as Apple will face another court hearing to determine whether or not it willfully infringed on the patents. The ruling from this court hearing could lead to higher damages.
In the latest trial, jurors were asked to determine damages on two VirnetX patents that Apple had already been found to infringe, and to determine both infringement and damages on another two patents. The $302.4 million award was in line with what VirnetX had been demanding.
Apple will also have to contend with the trial in a second lawsuit VirnetX filed against Apple over newer versions of Apple security features, as well as its iMessage application.
Apple has long voiced its displeasure with patent trolls like VirnetX. In 2014, the company publicly explained its issues with patent trolls, saying that it is the subject of more patent-related lawsuits than any other company.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated on Apple’s patent battle with VirnetX, but hopefully the case is nearing the end.
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