A federal court in Texas has ordered Apple to pay around $500 million after it lost a patent infringement case filed by the patent troll firm, VirnetX. Apple stands accused of infringing on at least four patents that have to do with secure communications.
The four contentious patents powers some of the most sought-after Apple services. Those include VPN on Demand, iMessage and FaceTime video conferencing tool. The case was first filed back in 2010 and has since seen several trials and countless appeals in between.
Interestingly, the most recent judgment in the case had pegged the amount Apple needs to pay at $439.7 million. That again had been revised from $302 million awarded earlier though the same now stands at $502.6, the highest so far.
That said, the victory celebration at VirnetX, if at all, will be short lived as Apple is expected to appeal against the judgment at the earliest. What further brings down the merit of the case is the fact that the four patents in questions have earlier been invalidated by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. That case again is being heard at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington.
If not the case itself where VirnetX does not seem to have too much of an advantage, the sheer size of Apple’s even quarterly profits makes the judgment of little significance for the company. Apple first-quarter profits came to a mammoth $20 billion while its stocks too remained largely unchanged post the ruling.
In comparison, VirnetX reported profits of just $1 million last year though the latest ruling against Apple has boosted its stocks by 44 percent. Unfortunately, that might not be enough for the Zephyr Cove, Nevada based company that owes its existence to intellectual property patent trolls, suing companies on the basis of outdated patent infringement laws in the hope of running into some profits.
Apple lawyers meanwhile are yet to comment on the development even though VirnetX CEO Kendall Larsen expressed satisfaction after the court ruling. Larsen said the damages that take into account sale of more than 400 million of Apple products is fair enough.