Apple’s long-running battle with patent-holding entity VirnetX took another expensive turn Friday as Apple was ordered to pay $502.8 million for infringing on the company’s patents.
The verdict was decided by a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Apple and VirnetX have been battling back and forth since 2010.
VirnetX has previously sued — and beaten — big companies including Microsoft, Cisco, Avaya, and Siemens. Some people have referred to VirnetX as a “patent troll” for existing solely to sue others for violating patents it owns. However, a look at the company’s website suggests that it does sell products, therefore not making it a non-practicing entity. It sells products for creating, “private, secure networks and encrypted communication channels over the Internet giving you end-to-end control and security of your data and cloud applications.” It’s not clear what percentage of the company’s overall revenue this accounts for.
The Apple vs. VirnetX case is, by this point, pretty confusing. The complaints dating back a decade continue to make their way through the court system. At various points, VirnetX has been awarded moneys, but Apple has appealed. In this case, VirnetX’s dispute with Apple is over a patent allegedly infringed on in FaceTime. The company asked for $700 million, while Apple said a more acceptable royalty rate added up to $113 million. It seems that they eventually settled on 84 cents per device infringing on the patent. This brought it to $502.8 million, which is closer to VirnetX’s figure than it is to Apple’s.
Will this be the end of the case? That remains to be seen. However, Apple’s deep pockets and the ubiquitousness of its devices makes it a frequent target for patent-related lawsuits.