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Apple files for a mistrial in $625 million iMessage and FaceTime patent suit

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Apple has filed for a mistrial in a patent infringement suit just days after being ordered to pay $625.6 million in damages. VirnetX, which is regularly described as a "patent troll," sued Apple claiming it infringed on four patents related to communications protocols patents used in iMessage, FaceTime, and VPN on Demand, as well as the Apple devices using the software. Apple was found guilty on all claims, but the company now says lawyers for VirnetX used "arguments outside the evidence and blatantly misrepresented the testimony of Apple's witnesses" in closing arguments this week, according to legal blog Texas Lawyer.

The case was filed in Tyler, Texas in the state's Eastern District, a region well known for granting victories to patent holders in infringement cases, including firms whose sole purpose is to sue other companies. VirnetX has only 14 employees and it leases a tiny office in Zephyr Cove, Nevada on Lake Tahoe. Representatives for the company claim it intends to use its patents to develop products, but it doesn't appear to be engaged in activity outside of the courtroom.

VirnetX has only 14 employees and makes its money solely through litigation

Apple's dealings with VirnetX go back to 2012, when VirnetX sued the iPhone maker and won a judgement of $368 million. VirnetX also came close to nabbing a "running royalty," which would have earned it one percent of iPhone and iPad sales going forward. The ruling was thrown out two years later, after Apple had redesigned FaceTime to avoid infringing VirnetX's patents. Yet the company went after Apple once more, seeking $532 million initially and then bumping the demand up to the $625.6 million awarded this week.