A Texas-based federal jury has ruled against Apple Inc., ordering it to pay $502.6 million to VirnetX Holding Corp. for infringing multiple secure communications patents held by the company in an 8-year-long dispute.
Right after VirnetX won the case, its share price increased rapidly by 44 percent and stood at $4.10 on Tuesday. On the other hand, Apple’s equity did not seem to be affected much by this sudden outflow, because $502.6 million isn’t much for a company making tens of billions in quarterly profits.
According to Bloomberg, VirnetX said that four of its patents were violated by Apple services including VPN on Demand, iMessage, and FaceTime. Apple denied these allegations as these patents were related to secure communication.
VirnetX itself is a listed company which offers services in secure communication such as its Gabriel Collaboration Suite – a secure mailing and messaging system – but most of its revenue has been generated by filing patent related and similar lawsuits on major organizations.
A Patent Troll
The “patent troll” did the same with Microsoft back in 2010 and managed to exact $200 million and subsequently, another bounty of $23 million for newer products. In an SEC filing, VirnetX said that the company makes its money using its “portfolio of intellectual property” which is “the foundation of our business model.”
To his claim, VirnetX CEO Kendall Larsen said that Apple earned huge profits by selling 400 million devices using their copyrighted model which is why a 500-million claim is only “fair”. So far, the verdict has only helped boost the company’s equity. However, they could lose this money later on because according to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the patents are invalid.
The case is currently being reviewed by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington.