Apple has been ordered to pay patent troll VirnetX a whopping $625 million after losing a legal battle over the technology used for FaceTime and iMessage. The Cupertino company says it is “surprised and disappointed by the verdict,” and calls for patent reform.
VirnetX, which is based in Nevada, is labeled a patent troll because it exists solely to sue larger companies over patents it has purchased. In the past, it has successfully sued Microsoft twice, netting $224 million in total — plus Cisco, Siemens, Avaya, and others.
The company was also successful in another case against Apple back in 2013, which saw it awarded $368 million after a U.S. court decided Apple had infringed patents relating to FaceTime and VPN technologies used in iOS.
But VirnetX decided that wasn’t enough, so it took Apple back to court over patented technologies relating to FaceTime and iMessage — and won again.
“The jury saw what we have been saying all along: Apple has been infringing VirnetX’s patented technology for years,” said the legal firm that represents VirnetX. Apple, on the other hand, has a very different view.
“We are surprised and disappointed by the verdict and we’re going to appeal. Our employees independently designed this technology over many years, and we received patents to protect this intellectual property,” reads Apple’s statement.
“All four of VirnetX’s patents have been found invalid by the patent office. Cases like this simply reinforce the desperate need for patent reform.”
Apple will almost certainly appeal today’s decision, but with damage sums like this one, it’s no wonder why patent trolls like VirnetX continue to pop up.