Apple could owe up to $532 million for infringing on secure communication patents, used for both its FaceTime and its iMessage services — or at least it will if patent-holding entity VirnetX Holding Corporation has its way.
A lawyer for the firm told a court in (where else?) the Eastern District of Texas that, “Apple hasn’t played fair. They have taken Virnetx’s intellectual property without permission.”
VirnetX has a history with Apple. Back in 2012, it won a $368.2 million verdict against Cupertino, although this was later thrown out and a new trial was initiated. The group — which Bloomberg notes, “has struggled to commercialize its own products and relies on patent licensing for revenue” — has also successfully taken on Microsoft.
“Apple believes in fairness and protecting intellectual property,” said Apple’s lawyer, Greg Arovas of the firm Kirkland & Ellis. “VirnetX keeps moving the boundary, asking for more and more and more.”
Research published last year showed that Apple was the number one target of attempted lawsuits by NPEs (non-practicing enterprises). The Eastern District of Texas is also the favorite location for these NPEs because of the court’s tendency to side with NPEs and award large sums of damages.
It is likely that the Apple vs. VirnetX trial will last through next week.