Apple must shell out $502.6 million to feed ‘patent troll’

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Apple has to pay out half a billion buckaroos in damages.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple must pay $502.6 million to patent holding company (read: so-called “patent troll”) VirnetX Holding Corp., a federal jury in Texas has ordered.

This is the latest installment in a dispute that now stretches back eight years. The patents Apple has allegedly infringed one include ones related to secure communications, used by FaceTime, VPN on Demand and iMessage.

Speaking after the decision was reached VirnetX CEO Kendall Larsen said that the verdict was fair. “The evidence was clear,” Larsen said. “Tell the truth and you don’t have to worry about anything.” In the aftermath of the verdict, VirnetX’s stock rose as much as 44 percent to close at $4.10 per share.

The company reported just a little more than $1 million in revenue last year; a tiny amount compared to Apple’s $20 billion in pure profit in the first quarter of 2018. Nonetheless, investors are optimistic about what an Apple payout will do for business.

The standoff with VirnetX has been going on throughout the 2010s. The company was previously paid $200 million to end litigation by Microsoft, in addition to an extra $23 million. The term “patent troll” is often given to businesses which hold extensive patent portfolios, and use these to license out technology or sue other companies.

Source: Bloomberg