Court denies Apple’s appeal in VirnetX patent-infringement case

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Apple wants patent trolls to stop ‘gaming the system’
The lesser-spotted patent troll.
Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

Cupertino’s seemingly neverending legal battle with patent troll VirnetX Holding Corp. took another turn this week when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Apple’s request to reconsider an original patent-infringement decision.

VirnetX and Apple have been fighting in courts for a decade over patents related to FaceTime and other secure communications. VirnetX, which doesn’t produce any products, previously won more than $503 million in damages, but courts subsequently threw out the award.

Four patents held by VirnetX were originally found to be infringed on by Apple’s iMessage, FaceTime and VPN technology. An appeals court whittled the infringing patents to just two. Apple contended that the patents shouldn’t have been issued and that the awards were excessive because VirnetX doesn’t even make $2 million in revenue per year.

Because Apple will not be able to legally challenge the validity of VirnetX’s patents, it appears that the only issue left in this case is the recalculation of damages. A lower court will now either recalculate the damages or determine if a new damages trial needs to be held.

In a separate case last year, a court ordered Apple to pay $440 million to VirnetX. The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court to reassess how damages are calculated.

VirnetX’s stock soared more than 7% in trading when the news broke this afternoon.