On 24 February the US Supreme Court rejected Apple’s appeal seeking review of the judgement passed in November in favor of VirnetX. The underlying judgement awarded VirnetX millions in damages, fees, and interest over earlier versions of VPN on Demand and Facetime. Apple and VirnetX have been battling for 10 years over technology related to secure communications.
10-Year VPN Patent Fight
Kendall Larsen, VirnetX CEO and President, said in a statement: “It has taken us 10 long years, 4 successful jury trials, 2 successful Appellate Court rulings and a favorable Supreme Court decision to get here. […] We trust Apple will honor the decisions rendered by our courts and their esteemed judges and honor an agreement to abide by the court’s decision.”
“We believe that our technology provides an important security feature in some Apple products especially the iPhone”, continued Kendall Larsen. “The jury award we received and confirmed by Federal judges, is less than a quarter of one percent of the cost of an iPhone. This amount is more than fair considering the importance of Internet security.”
In the VirnetX case, Apple has appealed each and every ruling against them in state and federal courts. The latest arguing that VirnetX had overvalued their inventions to the court. In November, the Federal Court affirmed that Apple is barred from challenging the validity of the asserted patents, as they unsuccessfully litigated the same issues in a previous case.
Who is VirnetX?
VirnetX Holding Corporation sees itself as an Internet security software and technology company with patented technology for secure communications including 4G LTE and 5G security.
The company has, however, also been referred to an intellectual property licensing firm or a patent troll. VirnetX’s patent portfolio includes over 115 US and international patents and over 50 pending applications in areas such as DNS and network communication.
Apple has gone to extreme lengths in the VPN patent fight with VirnetX. In the end, it even re-designed the back-end architecture of one of its premiere products, FaceTime, to avoid patent infringements and ongoing royalty payments.
In December 2014, VirnetX and Microsoft settled their patent dispute over Skype technology for $23 million.