Skip to main content

Apple’s epic patent troll fight drags on as appeals court strikes down latest request

Apple’s epic patent troll fight drags on as appeals court strikes down latest request


The fight with VirnetX continues

Share this story

Illustration featuring a pattern of Apple logos
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A US appeals court has rejected a request from Apple to reconsider a split decision ruling that found it infringed on patents owned by notorious patent troll VirnetX, Reuters reports. It’s the latest step in a convoluted multiyear legal battle between the two companies that dates back to 2010.

In April 2018, a federal court in Texas ordered Apple to pay $502.6 million to VirnetX for violating four patents relating to internet-based communications, which, in this case, mostly means the underlying technology behind Apple products like FaceTime and iMessage. Apple and VirnetX, a patent-assertion entity that makes money by suing other companies, are also engaged in a number of related patent infringement suits, although this one is the most high-profile.

Last November, however, a three-judge panel voided that $502.6 million calculation, granting Apple a win of sorts. But the judges did not void a jury’s finding that some older iPhone models still infringed two VirnetX patents, and that’s what Apple had asked the US appeals court to reconsider.

From here, it’s likely the case will continue to meander through the courts. AppleInsider says that the next step will be decided by a Texas court, which could recalculate how much Apple owes VirnetX. There’s apparently even the chance the court could call for a complete retrial, given that Apple’s apparent patent infringements have been reduced from four to two.

This case has been crawling through the courts for years. If you want to read about some of the legal back-and-forth between the companies, check out the links below.