Apple has been in a patent dispute with VirnetX for more than a decade, and the company won an appeal judgment today, which may eventually make it unnecessary to pay VirnetX $502. billion ) of patent infringement fees.
The U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s ruling invalidating two patents filed by VirnetX Inc. against Apple. That means Apple may not have to pay VirnetX’s $502.8 million patent infringement damages.
VirnetX Corporation is a patent holding company that does not provide an actual product or service and generates revenue by suing technology companies that infringe its patents. The patent dispute between VirnetX and Apple has been going on for more than ten years. In 2020, a court ruled that Apple must pay VirnetX $503 million because Apple’s iPhone’s VPN on demand feature violated VPN patents owned by VirnetX, both of which have now been declared invalid.
Apple appealed after being ordered to pay damages, and the two sides argued the appeal last September. VirnetX’s attorney, Jeff Lamken, said at the time that VirnetX would be in “big trouble” if the court upheld the USPTO ruling. He said he doesn’t think VirnetX will have an “enforceable judgment.” So this could be a big win for Apple.
With the patents declared invalid, VirnetX and Apple will once again have court debate on Apple’s appeal to determine whether Apple needs to pay damages. It now appears that the $502.8 million judgment will be reversed.
Regardless of the outcome of the case, Apple has already been forced to pay VirnetX $440 million for its FaceTime and iMessage features that infringe VirnetX’s communication security patents.