Apple Prevails in Appeals Court Ruling Against VirnetX in Patent Dispute
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Court on March 30 upheld a decision by the US Patent and Trademark Office that declared two patents owned by VirnetX invalid. These patents were previously used by VirnetX in their lawsuit against Apple for patent infringement.
In 2020, a court ordered Apple to pay VirnetX $503 million for infringing on their patents related to the iPhone's VPN on-demand feature. However, as the two patents used in this lawsuit have now been invalidated, Apple could potentially have the entire judgment overturned.
After the $502.8 million award verdict was issued, Apple appealed the decision. In September, both Apple and VirnetX presented their arguments during the appeal. VirnetX's attorney, Jeff Lamken, acknowledged that if the court sided with the USPTO and declared the patents invalid, VirnetX could face significant challenges. In such a scenario, Lamken believed that VirnetX would not be able to enforce its judgment, making this a potential major victory for Apple.
As a result of the invalidated patents, VirnetX and Apple will have to revisit their previous appeals case to determine if Apple will be required to pay the $502.8 million verdict.
Irrespective of the outcome of the current case, it is worth noting that Apple had previously been ordered to pay VirnetX $440 million for infringing on their communication security patents through the use of FaceTime and iMessage features.
VirnetX is commonly referred to as a "patent troll" or a patent-holding company that does not provide any products or services. The company's primary revenue stream is derived from pursuing litigation against technology firms that infringe on its patents. However, VirnetX does offer a software product called "War Room" that enables authenticated meetings.