Court Offers Bittersweet Ruling in VirnetX’s Patent Infringement Lawsuit against Apple

In a patent infringement lawsuit filed by VirnetX against Apple, a US appeals court has offered a bittersweet ruling for both the firms. A lower court had earlier ruled that Apple must pay VirnetX Holdings Corp $503 million for infringing upon four patents. However, the appeals court’s new ruling has stated that the damages must either be recalculated or a new trial must be held.

The patent-related trial between Apple and VirnetX has been going on for years, and it is related to technologies used in FaceTime’s secure communications. It has been a partial victory for VirnetX as the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has barred Apple from claiming that two of the four patents are invalid. However, the ruling states that two other patents named in the lawsuit are invalid. Hence, the sum awarded by the jury in the Texas court must be recalculated.

The case has now been sent back to the Texas court for further proceedings. The appeals court mentioned that the Texas court’s judge now must consider whether to hold a new damages-only trial or recalculate damages for the two valid patents in question. After the appeals court’s ruling, VirnetX’s stock prices fell by 22%. VirnetX had also filed lawsuits against Cisco and Microsoft to the tune of $223 million to settle a patent dispute related to VPN and unified communication technologies.

Apple vs. VirnetX: The History

VirnetX had originally filed a lawsuit against Apple in 2010 for infringing upon secure communications-related patents without paying for them. In 2012, the Nevada-based firm was awarded $368 million in damages. These damages were, however, thrown out two years later after the Cupertino-headquartered company filed for an appeal.

In 2016, the IP firm was awarded $440 million after calculating damages, interest, and legal costs. The iPhone maker was also denied from turning aside the court’s ruling. The same year, VirnetX won another patent lawsuit against Apple, and the latter was ordered to pay $625.6 million for violating four patents. The iPhone maker had vowed to appeal against the ruling. However, it lost the appeal earlier in January this year to have the patent judgement set aside.

In April, VirnetX was awarded $502.6 million against Apple after a federal jury in Texas found Apple infringing upon the former company’s patents without paying for them.