Judge Throws Out $625 Million VirnetX Verdict Against Apple, Sets Two Separate Retrials

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Apple will no longer have to pay $625.6 million to VirnetX, which claimed the Cupertino company was infringing upon four Internet security-related patents. The decision came last Friday afternoon from U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder in Tyler, Texas, claiming that it was "unfair" on Apple's part that two VirnetX lawsuits were aimed at the company in one trial (via Reuters).

The case with VirnetX began originally in 2010, with a jury eventually awarding the company $368 million in 2012, but that decision was thrown out in 2014 after the court found the verdict was "'tainted' by erroneous jury instructions in the case." VirnetX remained adamant and kept going after Apple, now amounting to the four total patents it believes Apple infringed upon, related to services like FaceTime and Messages.


In the new ruling, Judge Shroeder claimed that jurors in the current case may have been unknowingly swayed and influenced by the events of the previous lawsuit, ultimately leading to an "unfair trial." As such, he has ordered that each case face a separate retrial, the first beginning next month on September 26. VirnetX CEO Kendall Larsen mentioned the company's disappointment at Shroeder's decision, but is preparing for the upcoming retrials all the same.
"We are disappointed," VirnetX Chief Executive Kendall Larsen said in a statement on Monday. "We are reviewing all our options and will follow the court's direction as we start preparing for these retrials."
In May, following its win in February, VirnetX continued to ask for more money from Apple, along with an injunction to block FaceTime and Messages while the case was happening. VirnetX is one of many companies described as a "patent troll" going after Apple in the court system by attesting that some of the company's most popular services and products were originated by someone else.

A Supreme Court ruling from earlier in the summer has made it easier for Apple -- and any company facing legal issues from such "patent assertion businesses" -- to challenge lawsuits like the one from VirnetX. Still, this one isn't over yet, since Apple will now have to face VirnetX again, twice, with the upcoming pair of separate retrials ordered by Judge Shroeder.

Article Link: Judge Throws Out $625 Million VirnetX Verdict Against Apple, Sets Two Separate Retrials
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,426
13,912
In between a rock and a hard place
I wonder if that judgment was a full device judgment. If so, it would be interesting to see how the new trials turn out if Samsung wins a judgment with the Supreme Court. Even if Apple loses the two new trials, the judgments could be greatly reduced if Samsung wins their trial. All relevant only if VirnetX got a full device award.
 
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nt5672

macrumors 68020
Jun 30, 2007
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That seems to be written incorrectly.

If it is 'unfair on Apple's part' that means Apple acted unfairly rather than that Apple was acted unfairly upon.
Not really surprising these days. Understanding the meaning of English is not a judge's strong point, as they can twist and turn the meaning to suit whatever?
 

BMcCoy

macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2010
1,630
3,204
A patent troll is still a proper and legal patent owner, right?
Yup.

It would be a reasonable argument to say that the big problem lies in patent law - and patent law attorneys!

Okay, these patent troll companies exist purely to sue successful companies, and so are somewhat lacking in integrity, and obviously unpopular, but you're right.. if they're the legal patent holder, then they are due the royalties/acknowledgement.

But that just sucks. Stifling innovation and development and progress... the very things that patent law was supposed to be protecting; not destroying.

Patent law definitely needs rewriting from the bottom up.
 

melendezest

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Jan 28, 2010
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I'm thinking Apple should have a team dedicated to making sure that their technologies used are not patented, and if so to license them, as appropriate.

It may cost them less in the long run, I think, what with attorney fees and other litigation costs imposing an overhead to a ruling.

Preventing is better than repairing, I think.
 

TEG

macrumors 604
Jan 21, 2002
6,573
51
Langley, Washington
A patent troll is still a proper and legal patent owner, right?
They do own the patent. However, a patent is provided in good faith that the company or individual granted the patent will attempt to actually create a produce that utilized the patent. In addition, many of these software patents are written in such a way that things, not even dreamed up at the time of its issuance, could have been thought of.
 

campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
3,413
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And, a "hmmmmmm"...

Buried in the Release Notes for iOS 10 Beta 4 is this passage, perhaps portending an upcoming workaround for FT:
"FaceTime calls between this beta and older iOS and macOS betas is not supported. Please update your
Mac and iPhone to the latest version."
 

Rocketman

macrumors 603
They do own the patent. However, a patent is provided in good faith that the company or individual granted the patent will attempt to actually create a produce that utilized the patent. In addition, many of these software patents are written in such a way that things, not even dreamed up at the time of its issuance, could have been thought of.
Is there precedent to indicate that?
 

tooltalk

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2015
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NY, NY
I'm thinking Apple should have a team dedicated to making sure that their technologies used are not patented, and if so to license them, as appropriate.

It may cost them less in the long run, I think, what with attorney fees and other litigation costs imposing an overhead to a ruling.

Preventing is better than repairing, I think.
I don't think many of us would want Apple to look like Rambus -- where there are more lawyers than engineers -- and Apple is already notorious for their litigious behavior. Further, according to some studies, there are just dang too many known and unknown patents (200+K) out there. And most importantly, most patents on their own merit aren't that worthy. While there are some ridiculously court rulings, most companies are reasonable and do settle out of court or cross-license their patents to avoid expensive, lengthy legal battles.

Of course, patent trolls and Apple clearly aren't "most companies" and are the exception to this norm.
 
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melendezest

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Jan 28, 2010
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I don't think many of us would want Apple to look like Rambus -- where there are more lawyers than engineers -- and Apple is already notorious for their litigious behavior. Further, according to some studies, there are just dang too many known and unknown patents (200+K) out there. And most importantly, most patents on their own merit aren't that worthy. While there are some ridiculously court rulings, most companies are reasonable and do settle out of court or cross-license their patents to avoid expensive, lengthy legal battles.

Of course, patent trolls and Apple clearly aren't "most companies" and are the exception to this norm.
I have a hard time believing there are that many patents to navigate in an iPhone. But, even so, Apple has the money to hire someone to look it up. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't cost close to half-a-billion dollars to do so, which is the amounts in jeopardy here.

The point would be to prevent "litigious" action, or preempt and hedge off some of these rather than having to do the work after-the-fact.
 

RicD

macrumors member
May 12, 2010
99
50
USA
They do own the patent. However, a patent is provided in good faith that the company or individual granted the patent will attempt to actually create a produce that utilized the patent. In addition, many of these software patents are written in such a way that things, not even dreamed up at the time of its issuance, could have been thought of.
Oh my, I missed the memo that must have stated, rather than utilize use we will utilize utilize. The word utilize is a medical term folks are using in place of use and using. It does not matter how one justifies the use of utilize, it is the incorrect word. So why is it used so much, it as a monkey hear, monkey do all without understanding its meaning. Quite similar to folks use of the word jealous when they mean envious. Jealous and envy are not the same, again because of the monkey effect folks use the incorrect word.
 

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
49,563
18,111
Oh my, I missed the memo that must have stated, rather than utilize use we will utilize utilize. The word utilize is a medical term folks are using in place of use and using. It does not matter how one justifies the use of utilize, it is the incorrect word. So why is it used so much, it as a monkey hear, monkey do all without understanding its meaning. Quite similar to folks use of the word jealous when they mean envious. Jealous and envy are not the same, again because of the monkey effect folks use the incorrect word.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utilize

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/utilize
 
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