Apple ordered to pay VirnetX $502.8 million in patent trial

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A jury in Texas has ruled that Apple has to pay VirnetX $502.8 million in royalties for VPN on Demand, a feature that lets iOS users access a VPN connection, Bloomberg reported. The two companies have been involved in a legal battle for ten years, with VirnetX— sometimes referred to as a patent troll — arguing that Apple’s VPN on Demand and FaceTime use its technology.

Apple said in a statement it plans to appeal the decision: “This case has been going on for over a decade, with patents that are unrelated to the core operations of our products and have been found to be invalid by the patent office. Cases like this only serve to stifle innovation and harm consumers.”

Earlier this year, a US appeals court rejected Apple’s request to reconsider a split decision ruling that found it infringed on VirnetX patents. The ongoing court fight has gone back and forth, with a federal court in Texas ordering Apple in 2018 to pay VirnetX $502.6 million for violating four patents relating to internet-based communications, which refers to the underlying technology behind Apple’s FaceTime and iMessage.

But in November 2019, a three-judge panel voided that $502.6 million amount. However, the judges did not void a jury’s finding that some older iPhone models infringed two VirnetX patents. It was that finding that Apple sought to have the appeals court reconsider.

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