Apple Plans to Appeal $439M 'Final Judgment' in FaceTime Patent Lawsuit With VirnetX

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. realeric macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2009
    United States
    I stop reading at “...United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas” where is the hometown of trolls.
  2. cjake macrumors regular

    Sep 12, 2014
    The suit is about the secure end-to-end encrypted communications technology that Virnetx originally created for the CIA. It is Apple's use of end-to-end encryption in FaceTime that Virnetx claims infringes on the tecnology that Virnetx invented, patented, and markets today.

    Companies that have already licensed the patents include Microsoft, Aastra, Mitel, NEC, Siemens and Avaya.
  3. Madhatter243x macrumors newbie


    Dec 8, 2005
    You are correct, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas is notoriously known as the home of Patent Trolls. Famously patent trolls seek out this particular court for its backing of their nefarious lawsuits. Most of these companies have no employees, no technology, and/or no actual product. They exist to siphon cash from legitimate companies that put in the time and money into R&D.
  4. cjake macrumors regular

    Sep 12, 2014
    Except in this case they have a secure communications product that you can download from the iOS App Store, Gabriel Collaboration Suite, that provides strong end-to-end encryption for messaging.
  5. Smoothie macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    This isn't how patents work. If you're advocating for a complete change of the patent system, good luck. What follows is a very simplistic description of the system.

    In order to get a patent, the applicant goes through a process where the patent office determines if the invention is new or is not obvious to people in the field of the invention. There are tons of cases that discuss how this determination must be done and it's pretty rigorous. The patent examiner will usually present the applicant with examples of potentially invalidating prior art (previous publications or previous patents that describe all of the elements of the patent being applied for or that would be obvious to combine) and the applicant tries to argue why the patent claims are different or the applicant may amend the claims to narrow them to get around the prior art. If the patent applicant gets by this process, the patent gets granted. There is no requirement that the applicant must use the invention in a product. This protects inventors like people working in their garages or in academia who might not have the wherewithal to manufacture their invention. The authors of the U.S. Constitution felt that patents were so important to promoting science and useful arts that they included it explicitly in the Constitution.

    If the new patent holder decides to sue a defendant for infringement of the patent, the issue of the validity of the patent gets scrutiny all over again in court. In addition, the issue of whether there's infringement at all gets addressed by the court. Regarding the validity issue, the accused infringer looks for prior art just like the patent examiner did. If the issue of validity is so clear-cut, the court can decide it on summary judgment without the need for a jury. If the claims of the patent are invalidated by the court (whether by summary judgment or after a jury trial), there's no need to consider infringement at all since you can't infringe an invalid patent. Also, once a patent is invalidated, it can't be asserted against anyone else, including competitors of the original defendant. So if Apple were to invalidate a patent, it could potentially benefit Samsung.

    If some or all of the patent claims aren't invalidated by the court, the patent holder must prove that the accused product contains each and every element of the asserted patent claim or that the accused product is only insubstantially different. Again, if the issue of infringement is clear-cut, the court can decide it on summary judgment. If not, the jury gets to decide.

    Regarding both validity and infringement, one of the most important procedures in court is the determination by the judge of the meaning of certain words in the patent claims. This is referred to as "claim construction." The patent holder tries to argue that any disputed meaning should be broadly interpreted to cover the accused product, but not so broad so as to encompass prior art which might invalidate the claim. The accused infringer usually argues for a narrower interpretation so as to avoid infringement because the burden of proof for invalidity is higher. It depends a lot on the particular facts of the case and the strengths of the validity and infringement issues. The patent holder does not have to prove the infringement was intentional to recover damages; however, if willful infringement is proven the court can award additional damages. An injunction can prevent the infringement from continuing.

    Whether decided by the judge or the jury, the issues of infringement and validity can be appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This happened in the case between VirnetX and Apple, which was then sent back to the trial court. This appellate court specializes in patent cases and hears appeals from every jurisdiction in the country, unlike the other federal appellate courts which hear cases only from their geographical area. The appellate judges in the Federal Circuit are very good at what they do since they specialize in patent-related issues. They can reverse the findings in the trial court of validity and/or infringement if warranted. They can also reverse findings of damages. It's possible for the losing party in the Federal Circuit to appeal to the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court accepts very few appeals.

    Generally speaking, the system works because it's so rigorous. The cases that garner the most attention are usually out of the norm. Those are cases that sometimes involve "patent trolls." I don't define a patent troll as an entity that asserts a patent without having a competing product that incorporates the invention. That would include legitimate inventors in garages or in academia. But I do define a patent troll as an entity that asserts a patent of questionable validity and settles the claim for less than the potential defense costs for the accused infringer. Some defendants will grit their teeth and settle on these terms because patent litigation is expensive and the outcome isn't guaranteed. Patent trolls usually don't want their patent to be tested in court because if it's invalidated the revenue source disappears.

    No system is perfect. Recently, the venue rules were changed so that patent holders now have more restrictions in choosing where they can file their lawsuit. The federal court in the Eastern District of Texas (where the VirnetX case against Apple was filed) was known for being generous to patent holders. The new venue rules will make it much harder to file there.
  6. coolfactor macrumors 601

    Jul 29, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Problem with that is that it can then be used for future lawsuits. I agree that Apple should fight unless they are truly guilty, which I doubt, at least partially.
  7. Moohooya macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2010
    I'll give you $100 - please send me your bank account info and social security number - sometimes I also require a small transfer on your end for my bank to be willing to let me make a transfer :D
  8. farmboy macrumors 6502a


    Nov 26, 2003
    "Emails from Apple's engineering staff indicated that they knew they were violating various patents."

    You cite Wikipedia as a reputable source? That's pretty laughable.
  9. Will.O.Bie macrumors 6502


    Aug 29, 2016
    The whole patent system needs to be overhauled. I'm not defending Apple if they did something wrong then they should pay up but small companies patent trolling big companies is not the way to run a business.
  10. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    A lot of companies have been created by ex-government / military people. Doesn't mean they're controlled by their former employers. It more often means they wanted to directly make money from their own inventions.

    VirnetX's patents in question are for using an intermediate server to set up a direct client-to-client private link.

    Facetime uses that paradigm. An Apple device talks to to the Apple Facetime server, which knows where the other phone is and if it's online or not. If it is and the owner will accept the call, the Apple server tells both phones how to reach each other directly.
  11. Glideslope macrumors 603


    Dec 7, 2007
    A quiet place in NY.
    No kidding. Personally, I'd support an effort on their part to secede from the Union. :apple:
  12. freezelighter macrumors 6502


    Sep 23, 2014
    Liestal, Switzerland
    ..that one was a damn good iPhone.
    Now, there is only SE among all those huge iPhablets.
  13. mi7chy macrumors 603


    Oct 24, 2014
    Apple gets a taste of its own patent trolling medication except this has more substance than rectangular with rounded corners.
  14. mm1250 macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2007
    I bet Apple had a chance to settle this for much less. They deserve it. They are just as crazy on their own patents they own why would they expect others who have patents to be any different?
  15. justperry macrumors G4


    Aug 10, 2007
    Home is everywhere and nowhere.
  16. kdarling, Oct 16, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017

    kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Normally a troll is defined as a company that buys up patents and then goes looking for offenders.

    (Note: Apple did that themselves by proxy, when the consortium they belonged to bought Nortel patents and then created a patent holding company that did nothing but reverse engineer software to find infringements.)

    VirnetX is different. Its officers are mostly the guys who actually invented what they license. Basically, they're living the American inventor's dream of coming up with something that lots of people will want to use and pay for. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever.

    Worse, Apple's own internal documents showed that they knew they were infringing VirnetX patents, but went ahead anyway.

    Many plaintiffs like East Texas and Delaware courts because they are quick, have technical experience, and especially because they favor patent holders.

    In a similar way, Apple prefers northern California courts which seem to favor home state companies.

    Likewise, Motorola used to favor filing in their home state of Illinois.
  17. shplock macrumors regular

    Dec 25, 2015
    Somewhere in a Galaxy far far away
    The difference is, that Apple have been found guilty of patent infringement and thereof owe the money.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 16, 2017 ---
    Maybe, but maybe it is a case of having to pay your way in life and having something called a conscience. Elon Musk is trying to run Tesla in a more conscience way than Tim Cook runs Apple and he is not exactly poor. When he cashes his shares in(once milestones are reached and he is issued them) he will be richer than Tim Cook by a merry mile. He will be one of the richest in the world.
    So it is possible to be ethic and rich
    --- Post Merged, Oct 16, 2017 ---
    oNly if they have merit and only then if Apple are found guilty.
  18. thisisnotmyname macrumors 68000


    Oct 22, 2014
    known but velocity indeterminate
    There are appeals processes that haven't been exhausted, my analogy is apt as I included a judgement as well. Would you just hand over the $100 because I had received a court order?
    --- Post Merged, Oct 16, 2017 ---
    you can just pull it off the dark web in the ;)
    --- Post Merged, Oct 16, 2017 ---
    has legal remedies available to determine whether that is the case as well. The courts will work this out and they may or may not be ordered to pay that amount.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 16, 2017 ---
    I'll see what I can do :)
  19. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended


    Jul 10, 2008
    Bwahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahaahahaahhahahahahaahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaahahahahahahahahah! Someone drank the Musk Kool-Aid. If you think he's ethical and the net worth of a CEO matters in some way shape or form, you're clearly missing the entire point of this discussion and what matters in this world.

    You also make it very clear you don't understand how stock awards work and seem to assume the way in which Musk has SOMETIMES been awarded stock is somehow different from Cook, who receives stock awards in the exact same way (and the same way that executives at nearly every Fortune 500 company does). This isn't something unique to Musk and has been how the system works before he was even born.

    But since you believe Tesla is without fault, why are they fighting the Autopilot lawsuit, the one from former employee Stephen Platt, the Autopilot 2.0 lawsuit, the one with former employee over other employees calling him the n-word, their employee sexual harassment suit filed by a number of female employees, and many more. I thought they were so ethical?
  20. aliensporebomb, Oct 16, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017

    aliensporebomb macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth
    Wait. Squid by their very nature are damp.

    But that's not the issue!

    X-Plane author Austin Meyer has a great documentary out about the patent troll phenomenon, who is behind it and why it keeps going.

  21. ackmondual macrumors 65816


    Dec 23, 2014
    U.S.A., Earth
    Because it's related to something like this...
  22. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Yeah, his situation was a bad case of a troll hoping to scare developers into paying instead of getting into drawn out trials, and using a shill office in East Texas as a legal base.

    Of course, Apple itself is no stranger to using shill offices to legally get their way. And they're known to withhold royalty payments in order to try to force patent holders to settle for what Apple wants to pay.
  23. cyanite macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2015
    Apple has a product, so it’s hardly patent trolling. Also, the patent wasn’t and isn’t on a “rectangle with round corners”, that’s just **** someone made up on the internet.
  24. kdarling, Oct 16, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017

    kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Actually, Apple has sued over patent claims it doesn't use itself.

    Also, as previously noted, Apple was part of a consortium that created a notorious patent troll called Rockstar.

    In any case, VirnetX is not what most people call a troll, since they invented what they license, and do have app and library products using their patents.

    On the contrary, Apple DID manage to get a design patent on a rounded rectangle. Here it is. (Dashed lines don't count.)


    Apple awarded design patent for actual rounded rectangle - Ars Technica

    Apple did not try to sue Samsung using the more detailed actual iPad design patent. It wouldn't have worked, as none of Samsung's tablets had a round Home button or the same exact shape. So instead, Apple tried to use the above generic rounded rectangle patent.

    The attempt failed. Along with courts all over the world, even the first set of California jurors decided that Samsung's tablets did not infringe it.

Share This Page