Apple’s long-standing dispute with VirnetX over alleged infringement of the latter’s patent that went on to power iMessage and FaceTime features seem drawing to a close finally. A United States District Judge in Texas has ruled against Apple which translates to it paying $439.7 million in damages and fines.
The entire courtroom saga first started back in 2010 when VirnetX accused Apple of wilfully infringing on the patent in the domains of secure communications over mobile and PCs. Licensing technology related to Virtual Private Networks also happens to be the biggest source of income for VirnetX.
Interestingly, the damages fixed by the latest judgment happen to be quite higher than what a previous ruling had stated a year ago. The iPhone maker was then ordered to pay $302.4 million on charges of infringing on VirnetX’s technology related to Virtual Private Network on Demand along with another that went on to the creation of FaceTime app.
However, the present amount is still a lot less than the $625.6 million that Apple was asked to pay last February. The judgement was based on two lawsuits that were combined into one, which was later deemed void by a federal judge in August. The Judge had then ruled that both the lawsuits require a separate trial.
The damages fixed also include $41 million for wilful infringement of the patents while another $96 million covers attorney fees and other charges. The jury ruled that Apple owes VirnetX $1.20 for each iPhone, iPad and Mac device it sold and includes the disputed patents.
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VirnetX sources said they are elated with the latest judgement and said this is the third time the court has ruled in its favor. Apple though has said they would be appealing afresh against the latest court order. If that be true, then the case which already has stretched for seven years seems headed for a few more years down the line.
As it is, the US District Court for Texas is also seen as the most favored spot for filing patent infringement lawsuits. That again has to do with quite a few rulings that seems to favor companies that thrive on revenue from licensing patents.