Apple Loses VirentX Patent Retrial

Oct 03, 2016 04:27 AM EDT | Claire Ann Austria

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After a powerful release of the iPhone 7 and the reveal of the 2016 MacBook Pro, the federal jury in Texas has ordered Apple to pay more than $302 million in damages for illegally using the VirnetX Holding Corporation's patented internet security technology. The illegal use includes permission in features namely its FaceTime video conferencing application among others.

The culprit between the two corporation arose in a new trial in Tyler, Texas that had been ordered by Judge Robert Schroeder. The order had VirnetX's $625.6 million win over Apple from a previous trial because of his claim that jurors in that case may have been confused.

The two corporations, VirnetX and Apple, have been fighting over patents for years. It is known that the case began in 2010 when VirnetX, a Nevada-based patent licensor, filed suit in the Eastern District of Texas federal court. VirnetX was then claiming infringement of four patents for secure networks, known as virtual priv. The jury on the said court in 2012 awarded $368.2 million in damages. However, taking it to the higher court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. amended the order and told that there were problems with how the trial judge instructed jurors on calculating the damages for the patent suit.

With VirnetX holding on to the case, it filed a remand but this time combining two suits. In February, a jury returned with an even bigger judgment of $625.6 million, which is said to be record-breaking as one of the highest ever in a U.S. patent case. However, Schroeder later voided the result, saying that the repeated references were unfair to Apple.

On the latest trial, jurors were asked to determine damages on two VirnetX patents that Apple had already been found to infringe and also to determine both infringement and damages on another two patents.

Rachel Tulley, Apple's spokesperson, refused to give a statement on the matter while VirnetX lawyers cannot be contacted. However, court documents tells that Apple is still to face another hearing as regards to its intention to infringe. Said hearing is essential for the determining of the damages. It can either aggravate or mitigate the circumstances.

In addition, Apple will also have to contend with the trial in a second lawsuit VirnetX filed against it over newer versions of Apple security features including iMessage application.

To know more about the case, here is the reference case information: VirnetX Inc v. Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, No. 10-417.

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