Court rules Apple doesn’t owe patent troll $503 million

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The lesser-spotted patent troll.
The lesser-spotted patent troll.
Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

Apple won a round in court against VirnetX, a company often accused of being patent troll. An appeals court threw out $503 million award that the iPhone maker was ordered to pay in an earlier ruling.

However, the court didn’t reverse the original patent-infringement decision, just the amount of the award.

VirnetX might be found under a bridge

VirnetX Holding Corp is sometimes referred to as a patent troll because it doesn’t produce any products. It just collects patents, forces other companies to pay licensing fees on them, or files lawsuits when it thinks its patents have been infringed.

VirnetX and Apple have gone head-to-head multiple times over the years. In this latest case, the iPhone maker was ordered to pay $302.4 million because FaceTime infringes on two patents. This was later increased to $439 million.

The figure had apparently grown to $503 million before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected that amount, according to Bloomberg.

In its decision, the court decided that Apple can’t re-argue the question of whether VirnetX’s patents are valid. But the company does get a chance to lower the penalty.