Apple has now been ordered to pay $439.7 million to the patent-holding (patent-troll) firm Virnet. This decision comes down after Apple has been found guilty of infringing upon four patented technologies that were supposedly used in FaceTime and other iOS apps. The final judgement from the US District Court is being argued, Apple plans to appeal the ruling.
The battle began back in 2010 when VirnetX first filed a suit against Apple and won the $368 million in court. After that, the company again sued in 2012, now winning the decision in today’s ruling. Apple originally lost the suit, then filed for a mistrial. First it won the trial, lost it again, and was ordered to pay around $300 million, further lose more, and now is having to pay a heavier hefty fine.
The reason why Apple is now having to pay more is because the judge that found Apple guilty of willful infringement is bumping up the payment amount from $1.20 per infringing device to $1.80 per device. These devices cover certain iPhones, iPads, and Macs.
VirnetX says that the ruling is “very reasonable.” Apple didn’t say anything other than the fact that they plan to appeal the decision. For Apple, $440 million doesn’t seem like a lot of money if you think about it, but at the same time, there’s principles at stake here. VirnetX is a patent toll which makes money off of buying patents for their own portfolio and then suing other companies. Even the company’s SEC filing states that “Our portfolio is intellectual property is the foundation of our business model.”
There is some hope for Apple. Recently, The US Patent and Trademark Office recently invalidated all four of the patents that VirnetX is using to sue Apple. But VirnetX can appeal the decision, and until all appeals are decided, the patents in question will remain valid, thus Apple is still obligated to pay the fine, for now.