Apple has suffered a setback in its infringement battle with noted patent troll VirnetX, after an appeal by the firm to allow the judge insider a split ruling was rejected by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Apple had requested that the judge decide previous split rulings over the case. This move would have seen it eke out a complete victory over VirnetX and finally rid itself of the popular patent troll. Sadly, this appeal was denied, meaning that both firms will be engaging in this tussle for the foreseeable future.
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 11, 2020
Back and Forth for a Decade
Apple and VirnetX have been involved in the case over patent infringement since about 2010, and it represents just one of the several cases that have been brought against the tech giant from the patent troll. The company, which makes money off suing large tech firms, accused Apple of stealing some of its patented technology and using it to build some of its popular products.
Last April, a federal court in Texas ruled in VirnetX’s favor, asking Apple to make $502 million in damages for violating up to 4 patents related to communications technology. Apple appealed the decision, and in November, a three-judge panel voided the ruling, essentially letting the Silicon Valley giant off the hook. What they didn’t void, however, was a ruling that claimed Apple had violated two patents owned by VirnetX.
Now that Apple’s attempt to void that ruling has been rejected, it’s most likely that not parties will continue to move between court dates. AppleInsider revealed that the court in Texas would most likely decide on the next steps, which will most likely just be providing a new estimate of Apple’s indebtedness. However, there’s also the possibility of a retrial, given that the patent infringement counts have been reduced by half. VirnetX is still holding on to its claim on infringement, adding that its woes are legitimate because Apple has sold over 400 million devices that infringed on its technology.
Apple’s Familiar Patent Foe
This isn’t the first time that Apple will be pitted against the patent troll. In 2016, the firm was ordered to pay over $300 million in damages after a court found that it had used some of VirnetX’s technology in its FaceTime video calling platform.
Like this one, that case also started sometime in 2010, with a jury initially awarding $368 million to VirnetX. However, that decision was thrown out after a court found issues with the way the jurors were instructed to calculate the damages.
After five losses, Apple finally win a round in $600m VirnetX FaceTime patent mega-battle https://t.co/J7XFCKcPk0
— The Register (@TheRegister) November 25, 2019
Two cases before that had seen the jury come out with a $625 million damages verdict, although U.S. district court judge Robert Schroeder threw the case out on the ground that the jurors would have been confused.
At the time, jurors were asked to calculate the damage payments on just two patents, while also determining both damages and infringement on another two patents. In total, a verdict of $302 million was passed and approved by the court.
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