As the Honorable Judge Chamberlain Haller famously said, “win some lose some.” Apple emerged victorious over Samsung after it took the South Korean consumer tech giant to court for stealing its designs and technologies, but the company got a taste of its own medicine this week. A federal jury in East Texas has found that Apple is guilty of infringing secure communications patents belonging to VirnetX Holding Corp., a notorious patent troll that has been battling Apple in court for nearly eight years now.
Apple has been found guilty of infringing four different VirnetX patents in the iMessage, FaceTime, and VPN solutions it offers on iPhones and iPads. It has been determined that 400 million Apple devices that infringe the troll’s patents have been sold. As a result, Apple has been ordered to pay damages to the tune of $502.6 million.
It’s a huge win for VirnetX, which exists mainly to attempt to hoard patents it has no intention of ever using, and then find companies to which it can license those technologies. After all, the company makes no money of consequence licensing the technology it owns — the Zephyr Cove, Nevada-based company reported just $1 million in revenue in 2017.
This seems like a massive victory for VirnetX, and indeed it would be if Apple is ultimately forced to pay even a portion of the damages awarded in the case. As Bloomberg notes, however, the victory may be short-lived. In cases that are before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (USPTO) has already made the determination that the patents in question are invalid.
Meanwhile, the CEO of VirnetX is still celebrating the win. “The evidence was clear,” Kendall Larsen said to reporters following the announcement of the verdict. “Tell the truth and you don’t have to worry about anything.”