Apple misplace copyright retrial to VirnetX, owes $302.4 million


NEW YORK: A central jury in Texas on Friday night ordered Apple Inc to pay more than $302 million in damages for using VirnetX Holding Corp’s original internet security technology without permission in facial appearance with its FaceTime video conferencing application.

The decision came in a new trial in Tyler, Texas t VirnetX’ hat had been ordered by the critic in the case, Robert Schroeder, who last August threw out s $625.6 million win over Apple from a preceding trial because he said jurors in that case may have been puzzled.

VirnetX and Apple have been fighting over patents for years.

The case began in 2010 when VirnetX, a Nevada-based patent licensor, filed suit in the Eastern District of Texas federal court, claiming infringement of four patents for secure networks, known because virtual private networks, and secure infrastructure links.

A jury in 2012 awarded $368.2 million in costs, but the US Court of Appeals for the central route in Washington, DC, partly overturned that verdict, saying there were problems with how the trial moderator instructed jurors on calculating damages.

On remand, VirnetX’s two suits were joint, and in February, a jury returned with an even bigger verdict, $625.6 million, one of the highest ever in a US patent case.

However, Schroeder later voided the result, saying that the repeated positions to the former case could have puzzled jurors and were unfair to Apple.

In the latest trial, jurors were asked to decide damages on two VirnetX patents that Apple had already been found to infringe, and to determine both breach and costs on another two patents. The $302.4 million award was in line with what VirnetX had been demanding.

Apple lecturer Rachel Tulley declined to comment. An attorney for VirnetX could not right away be reached.

According to court documents, Apple is to face another court happening over whether it willfully infringed the patents, which could lead to higher damages.

Apple will also have to compete with the trial in a second court case VirnetX filed against Apple over newer versions of Apple security features, as well as its iMessage application.

Many copyright cases are handled in the Texas court, which has a status for awarding positive verdicts to plaintiffs alleging breach.